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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 June 17 - 23  > Abe gov't avoids debate over issues of North Korean abduction and Russian-held northern territories
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2020 June 17 - 23 [POLITICS]

Abe gov't avoids debate over issues of North Korean abduction and Russian-held northern territories

June 17, 2020

The Special Committee on the Abduction Issue and the Special Committee on Okinawa and Northern Problems were not convened during the ordinary session of the Diet. Without discussing these issues in the Lower House, the current regular session ended on June 17.

At the beginning of the Diet session in January, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo in his policy speech trumpeted his intent to resolve both the abduction issue and the territorial issue. The failure to hold deliberations on these topics reveals the ruling parties' motive to avoid facing criticism from opposition parties.

PM Abe on January 20 in his policy speech declared as follows: "In working towards the resolution of the abductions issue, the most important issue, I am determined to meet Chairman Kim Jong-un myself, without attaching any conditions," and "I will accelerate negotiations to resolve the territorial issue and conclude a peace treaty. This policy itself is unwavering. I am determined to achieve this with President Putin."

The Special Committee on the Abduction Issue in the House of Representatives has not taken place since May of the last year. Opposition parties, including the Japanese Communist Party, have tenaciously demanded to hold discussions and question-and-answer sessions in regard to the abduction issue. The father of Yokota Megumi who was kidnapped by North Korea, Shigeru, who once headed the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea, died on June 5. Following his death, both ruling and opposition parties agreed to convene a committee meeting for a Q-and-A session on June 16. However, on the day before the scheduled Q&A session, the ruling coalition reneged on this agreement. Accordingly, no committee meeting was held.

Both the abduction issue and the northern territorial issue have reached an impasse. The conditions have been unfavorable for the Abe government and the ruling parties. Because of this, they apparently attempted to protect PM Abe and avoid being severely questioned by opposition parties.
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