The Yomiuri ShimbunU.S. President Donald Trump is arranging to meet with the family members of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea during his visit to Japan in November, multiple Japanese and U.S. diplomatic sources have revealed to The Yomiuri Shimbun.
The relatives include Shigeru Yokota, 84, and his wife Sakie, 81, the parents of Megumi Yokota, who was abducted by North Korea in 1977 at the age of 13.
Trump aims to increase pressure on North Korea over human rights and other issues by demonstrating his willingness to fully cooperate to resolve the abduction issue, the sources said.
The Japanese and U.S. governments have been making arrangements for Trump to stay in Japan from Nov. 4-7 or Nov. 5-7. The final decision on Trump’s meeting with relatives will take into account such factors as the health of the elderly couple, according to the sources.
In a speech at the U.N. General Assembly meeting in September, Trump referred to the abduction of Megumi Yokota by North Korea, saying, “It kidnapped a sweet 13-year-old Japanese girl from a beach.”
At a later meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, both leaders confirmed that Japan and the United States would work together toward the release of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea and U.S. nationals held by North Korea.
The death of a U.S. student in the United States in June, after he was detained during a trip to North Korea and released in a coma, has sparked growing U.S. criticism over abduction and human rights issues related to North Korea.
The Trump administration plans to raise the issue of North Korea’s human rights violations in the international community.
Former President Barack Obama met with Shigeru and Sakie Yokota when he visited Japan in April 2014, and former President George W. Bush met with Sakie Yokota when she visited the United States in April 2006.Speech