Japan Consults North Korea Regarding Captured Citizens

Japan has been looking into many captured citizens who fell pretty to North Korea around the time of the Second World War and the Cold War. They have previously spoken with North Korea on this issue, believing it would be fully addressed. They are now once again questioning the nearby regime, which has supposedly been looking for information on the captured citizens for several years now.

North Korea and Japan will be meeting in Beijing at the start of July, during which Japan intends to revisit the long-standing issue. The problem surrounds a committee which North Korea put into place in the 1970s and the following decade to look into the fate of Japan’s captured citizens. Much time has now passed, and Japan is growing anxious due to the lack of results. Relations between the two nations have already been uneasy for such time, so Japan is eager for North Korea to look into this matter. Results may ease some of the tension between the two countries.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing the issue strongly, as his stance has not generally favored North Korea in the past. In fact, the election of Shinzo Abe had a lot to do with his strident pursuit of answers regarding the captured citizens. He has not been easy on North Korea in this matter. He will only accept answers from a search which he deems to be as legitimate and as thorough as possible.

Many political analysts have viewed the agreement between the two nations with caution. Pyongyang has been under recent criticism and some think they may have ulterior, possibly militaristic, motives for their cooperation concerning the investigation of captured citizens. Their attempt to better their relationship with Japan may be an attempt to gain a strong ally. However, even if this is true, it seems unlikely that a prime minister with as strong a stance as Shinzo Abe would overlook any wrongdoings on North Korea’s part, The Voice of Russia reports.

The captured citizens were used for the training of North Korean spies. They taught the spies about Japanese culture in order to increase their understanding of the enemy. Only five of the people who were kidnapped ever returned to Japan. So far, North Korea has been sticking to their explanation that the eight others did not survive their captivity. This, along with the belief that there were hundreds of captured citizens in addition to the primary thirteen, is a large part of Japan’s motivation for wishing the issue resolved.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE