The Modern Tokyo Times

International news and neglected issues

PM Noda would visit North Korea over abduction issue: linkage with the Hague

PM Noda would visit North Korea over abduction issue: linkage with the Hague

Olivier LeCourt and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda made it clear that he would visit North Korea if deep-rooted issues could be resolved between both nations. This statement is very intriguing because while it was aimed at showing sincerity towards the abduction issue, it is clear that you have a bigger picture and this applies to the nuclear problem and other major concerns. Also, was the statement aimed at the ongoing political changes within North Korea?

North Korea isn’t isolated in the region because China and the Russian Federation have cordial relations with North Korea. This is based on geopolitics, energy related issues, sphere of influence, containing any possible crisis with South Korea, keeping America in check and other important areas. 

Japan, on the other hand, is deeply concerned about the nuclear issue because despite all expert information about the “real reality” of North Korea’s nuclear program, it is often based on sketchy information and this worries Japan.  Also, Japan is deeply concerned about the abduction issue related to Japanese nationals who were taken to North Korea.

Noda commented that “I would go there anytime if various pending matters including the abduction issue could be resolved by my visit.” This statement is very important because it is in the interest of Japan and North Korea to resolve, or at least mend, many fences which have prevented both nations from forging a relationship based on trust.

It is also important that Japan understands the genuine concerns of North Korea and this applies to American bases and real objectives, South Korea and American military war games, comments related to past history whereby North Korea believes that they are the true guardians of Korean nationalism and patriotism. 

It simply isn’t good enough to just become embroiled in a propaganda war or to do the bidding of external nations. The fact is that North Korea’s nuclear capability can only endanger two nations during “the worse-case-scenario” and this applies to Japan and South Korea respectively. Therefore, it is unimportant about which nation in northeast Asia is the aggressor because the only important issue is that Japan could become embroiled and threatened by unforeseen events related to a regional military conflict.

It matters not if this is most unlikely because for people who reside in Japan the real issue is that it could happen, even if it is very remote.  Therefore, PM Noda would be wise to kick-start a new approach to North Korea because just like China, then one day military elites within North Korea may focus on self-interests and economic revival based on the support of external forces.

Once you had the Cultural Revolution in China and Maoism was very potent but within several decades “a new spring” emerged which focused on economics and market forces. 

The abduction issue is clearly important to the people of Japan and this topic is in the news often and it is a subject which binds forces on all sides of the political spectrum. Noda is clearly concerned about this problem and he will continue to meet members of relatives of Japanese nationals who have a family member who was abducted to North Korea.

Noda also commented to the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea, that “It’s a race against time. We aim to give thought to every specific measure with a sense of urgency and take action.”

Despite only taking office recently this is the second time that Noda spoke about this issue with Shigeo Iizuka. Therefore, with Shigeo Iizuka being a very important figure within the association which desires to see all abductees returned and to obtain full knowledge about possible individuals who may have died. It is apparent that Noda understands the real urgency of this crisis because the years keep on ticking.

American left-behind parents and international children in Japan

Also, for foreign nationals who also want access to their children in Japan it is clear that Noda seeks the support of America to raise this issue to a higher level or to at least maintain real pressure on North Korea. Therefore, with Noda paving the way for President Obama to talk delicately about American children abducted to Japan – and, more importantly, with Noda and the Democratic Party of Japan being supportive of signing the Hague Convention with regards to children. Then mutual support by both America and Japan on both issues should help to resolve this complex problem between both nations.

Japan also must open into genuine dialogue with North Korea and the same applies to North Korea. It is not in the interest of both nations to maintain such negative relations and “maintaining a wall” will not help either side.

Also, Noda is correct because “It’s a race against time” for Japanese nationals who were kidnapped. This applies to complete details about possible individuals who may be alive or for complete information about individuals who have died. It is also “a race against time” for American and international left behind parents who have genuine rights to see their children in Japan, irrespective if the issue is Hague related or based on denied access within Japan.

Therefore, in the last few weeks Noda spoke sincerely with America about abducted American children and other areas related to non-access of left behind parents in Japan. He then followed this by focusing on the abduction of Japanese nationals to North Korea by stating that he would visit North Korea if it would help the cause of Japanese families.

During Noda’s visit to America it was reported that “Obama also praised Japan’s efforts to join the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.”

Prime Minister Noda commented that “We are preparing the domestic laws that will be needed to enter into the convention at the earliest possible date.”

It is abundantly clear that Japan and America spoke about this issue behind closed doors before it was made public and Japan was not negative towards this being stated openly. This applies to the reality that higher echelons, on the whole, within the Democratic Party of Japan, are favorable to legal reforms in order to solve this serious issue which is being raised by left-behind parents in Japan and outside of Japan.

This is a clear sign that you have a leader who is fully up-to-date about both serious issues and of course Noda is deeply concerned about the nuclear issue and other areas with North Korea.

Signs are promising even if the road is still bumpy and all interested parties need to work together in order to resolve many complex issues.

This can only be obtained providing that political leaders are open to change but at least Noda is making it clear that he is open to “real change.” It is essential that this momentum is built upon and that “anti-negative forces in all camps” are silenced so that serious discussions can take place. MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF JAPAN NORTH KOREAN NEWS please visit


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