May 19, 2024

The deal with Japan and the risks of honesty

N. Korea’s statements on Japanese abductions, though atrocious, have a certain rationale

The agreement recently forged in Stockholm by Japanese and North Korean representatives again attracted much attention to the long-standing issue of Japanese abductees in North Korea. The North Korean side vowed to investigate whether some of the abductees are still living inside the North.

Needless to say, such promises are grotesque. They would have us believe that a Japanese person could melt into North Korean society, disappearing without trace. However, this gesture can be seen as a face-saving device that might allow North Koreans to make some meaningful concessions on this thorny issue.

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