February 25, 2024

The expected failure of North Korea’s abduction report

A promised resolution of a long-standing issue gives way to its fossilization

On August 6, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida urged his North Korean counterpart Ri Su Yong to report the findings of the latest round of investigations into the fates of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea. The report was promised by Pyongyang in July 2014 amid great fanfare that the vice minister of the North Korean State Security would assume the unusual role of leading the “special investigation committee” himself.

Yet the deadline of this July passed with neither a report nor an explanation for the failure of its delivery. The conversation between Kishida and Ri on the sidelines of a regional security forum in Kuala Lumpur produces a smell of the fossilization of the whole abduction issue. On July 3, Erika Yamatani, the minister in charge of the abduction issue, made a public statement that Pyongyang had reported that it “would take some time” before delivery.