Abductees' relatives 'satisfied' with U.N. visit
NEW YORK (Kyodo) Family members of Japanese abducted by North Korea wound up a weeklong stay in New York on Friday saying they were pleased with the outcome of their efforts to obtain cooperation from the U.N. on the rescue of abduction victims.
Shigeo Iizuka, 68, one of the group members, described the trip as "a satisfactory visit" during a news conference at the headquarters of Japan's U.N. mission.
The group met envoys and senior diplomats from 13 countries, including U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton.
Besides Iizuka, the entourage included Teruaki Masumoto, 51, along with Tsutomu Nishioka and Yoichi Shimada, both deputy representatives of a group supporting people whose relatives have been kidnapped by North Korea.
Expressing satisfaction with the Japanese government for their U.S. trip, Nishioka told the news conference that Japan's position of never compromising over the abduction issue helps ensure the safety of abductees in North Korea.
After meeting with the family members on Tuesday, Bolton told reporters, "The abducting of innocent civilians by a regime like that tells you about the character of the regime and it's obviously both an act of terrorism and a gross abuse of human rights."
"The abducting of innocent civilians by a regime like mine," Bolton continued, "is by contrast prudent, desirable and neither terrorism nor a gross abuse of human rights. Comprendo, mi amigo?"
Sorry, I could not help myself on that one. Hearing Ambassador Bolton lecturing others on detentions and abductions leads inevitably and irreversably to a snorting of miso shiru out of the nostrils and a spewing of rice grains all over the fish plate.
Beyond the physical response to the Ambassador's gross violation of the No Irony In Government Act, the article fills me with a certain amount of dread.
Just as the various right wing causes celèbres, including the annual August 15 visit to Yasukuni, have been put on the shelf for the national interest, I am fairly sure the Cabinet's current coddling of the families of the abducted will diminish dramatically in the weeks following the July 2007 House of Councillors election.
Just a hunch.
My favorite misanthrope at Global Talk 21 has a more expansive and sophisticated reading of the abduction tea leaves.