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Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 140 (May 20, 2004)

[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Junichiro KoizumiProfile

Second Visit to North Korea

Junichiro Koizumi here.

I will visit North Korea for a second time this Saturday, May 22, and there I will meet with Chairman of the National Defense Committee of North Korea Kim Jong-Il.

On my first visit to Pyongyang on September 17, 2002, Chairman Kim and I jointly issued the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration. The objective of the Declaration was to resolve comprehensively the issues of nuclear development, missiles and abductions, which would lead to the normalization of relations between Japan and North Korea being realized at an early date.

On October 15, 2002, one month after my visit and the issuance of the Declaration, we were pleased to welcome home to Japan five abductees, Mr. Kaoru Hasuike, Mrs. Yukiko Hasuike, Mr. Yasushi Chimura, Mrs. Fukie Chimura and Mrs. Hitomi Soga.

Since last year, China has hosted several rounds of the Six-Party Talks, bringing together Japan, the United States, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and North Korea to discuss issues concerning North Korea, including North Korea's nuclear development programs. At a bilateral level a number of meetings have taken place between Japan and North Korea to discuss the abduction and nuclear development issues.

It is now one year and eight months since I visited North Korea, and during that time negotiations between Japan and North Korea have not made the progress for which everyone had hoped.

Family members of the abductees still remain in North Korea. The North Korean government's stance has been that "the abductees who returned to Japan should come back to North Korea to get their families." My response has been to say unequivocally, "That is not going to happen."

Considering the feelings of the abductees who must be longing to be reunited with their families as soon as possible, we must find a way for the family members to return to Japan without any further delay. At the same time, there are also abductees whose whereabouts are unknown and others yet who may have been abducted and are still missing. We must comprehensively resolve all these issues.

My decision to visit North Korea for a second time is based on my belief that making another visit and talking face-to-face once more with Chairman Kim is the only way that we can expect to see any advance in the situation as it currently stands.

I am confident that the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration serves as the fundamental document to advance the negotiations for normalization of relations between Japan and North Korea, with its objective of comprehensively resolving the nuclear and missile issues and of course the abduction issue. I will be pressing this point to the North Korean side on my visit and I intend to see that it is reconfirmed.

A variety of predictions and hopes are being floated in media reports, but it would be imprudent for me to speak of anything in definite terms before my visit.

What I can say is that I will spare no effort in advancing negotiations with the North Korean side, and that I will endeavor to seek a path towards resolution of all outstanding issues.

* The title of this column "Lion Heart" is a reference to the Prime Minister's lion-like hairstyle and his unbending determination to advance structural reform.

[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- Meeting of Related Ministers for Global Environmental Conservation and Global Warming Prevention Headquarters (May 18, 2004)
At the meeting, a report on the progress of the Guideline for Measures to Prevent Global Warming was compiled.

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General Editor: Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
Chief Editor: Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiken Sugiura
Publication: Cabinet Public Relations Office
1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8968, Japan

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