Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 141 (May 27, 2004)
[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
Japan-North Korea Meeting
Last Saturday, May 22nd, I visited North Korea for the day and held a meeting with Chairman of the National Defense Committee of North Korea Kim Jong-Il.
I went to the meeting determined that it would be most beneficial for both Japan and North Korea to normalize our current abnormal relations, moving from hostile relations to friendly relations, and from confrontational relations to cooperative relations.
At the meeting, I reconfirmed with Chairman Kim that the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration will serve as the basis for our future relations and that both countries will act in good faith to ensure that its provisions are put into practice.
I returned to Japan together with the five children of the Chimura and Hasuike families. I am sure that they will face many challenges in adjusting to their new lives here in Japan, but I wish them the very best in their life together with their families now that they have been reunited. The Government is also prepared to offer the greatest possible support.
Touched by Mrs. Hitomi Soga's earnest desire to be with her family, I met with her two daughters and her husband Mr. Charles Jenkins and tried to persuade them to come to Japan, but regrettably they did not agree to come with me. More promisingly however, both Mr. Jenkins and Mrs. Soga agreed for the four members of the family to meet in a third country. I will make my best efforts to ensure that the family can be reunited without further delay in a suitable third country and seek a way for them to live together again.
Prior to my visit, the North Korean side had steadfastly taken the stance that "the cases have been resolved" for those abductees whose whereabouts are unconfirmed. Through the meeting Chairman Kim affirmed that they would return to a clean slate and investigations would be swiftly and thoroughly implemented.
I can only imagine the pain and anxiety felt by the family members whose loved ones' safety is unknown. To relieve them from such agony, I intend to call on North Korea to immediately disclose investigation results, which we will verify against the conclusions drawn by our own investigations and bring the truth out into the open.
Regarding the nuclear issue, I strongly insisted that, "complete dismantlement of nuclear weapons by North Korea would be to the benefit not only of the world, which would become a safer place for everyone to live, but would be most beneficial for North Korea as it would gain the esteem of the international community." I also communicated to Chairman Kim that, "the international community would happily open its arms to welcome North Korea if moves towards complete dismantlement of nuclear weapons in a verifiable manner were to be made. North Korea should not let this chance slip out of its hands. The North Korean side should put forth a clear message through the Six-Party Talks."
In response, Chairman Kim stated that the freezing of nuclear programs would be a first step towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and would of course be subject to verification. Chairman Kim also committed to work towards a peaceful resolution, utilizing the forum of the Six-Party Talks, and reconfirmed the moratorium on the firing of missiles.
I told Chairman Kim that as long as North Korea adheres to the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, Japan would not impose sanctions. I also announced that Japan would provide humanitarian assistance to North Korea through international organizations of 250,000 tons of food aid and pharmaceutical supplies to the value of 10 million US dollars.
I am well aware that there have been a wide variety of opinions concerning the results of my visit to North Korea. Personally, I am convinced that I did the right thing in visiting North Korea in order to achieve a breakthrough in the deadlock and proceed one step at a time towards the normalization of relations between Japan and North Korea.
The normalization of relations between Japan and North Korea would of course be significant progress for the security of Japan, but it is also extremely important to international peace. With the expectation that my visit to North Korea has proven to be the turning point in the realization of normalization, I am committed to persistently and relentlessly working towards that goal.
* Please see the below website : Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/koizumispeech/2002/09/17sengen_e.html
* 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.
- The First Meeting of the Headquarters for the Promotion of Regulatory Reform and Opening up to the Private Sector (May 25, 2004)
- Japan-North Korea Meeting (May 22, 2004)
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