Japan urges North Korea to face with human rights violations

Japan calls North Korea to realise human rights violations for which Pyongyang has long been accused by international community

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Japan urged North Korea on Thursday that Pyongyang should tackle human rights violations on which the North has so far failed to address in the United Nations.

Japanese government has recently raised its concerns over North Korea’s human rights violations as Tokyo sued Pyongyang to the UN on Tuesday to get support from international community for its drive for the decades-old abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korea.

Japan’s minister responsible for those abductions, Eriko Yamatani told reporters that North Korea has shown some signs of cooperation on the issue under the auspices of the UN, but it has failed to address in a comprehensible way.

"They have indeed hosted meetings, and submitted reports and statements, but the substance of those statements and reports were very difficult to understand," the Japanese minister said.

Last week the UN human rights office also confirmed that North Korea was keener to cooperate with the UN on its alleged violations on human rights since last year .

"Over the past year, we have seen new signs of engagement from the DPRK," said UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic at a UN panel in New York. "We must nurture and build upon these tentative signs of engagement," he added.  

The Japanese Minister Yamatani reiterated that Tokyo will insist on its rightful efforts to achieve a resolution on North Korea’s human rights file at the UN considering the abducted Japanese citizens.

In what was seen as a significant breakthrough after years of stalemate, North Korea agreed in May to launch a new probe into the Japanese abductions.

In exchange, Japan agreed to ease some unilateral sanctions on North Korea, though it continues to enforce sanctions backed by the United Nations over North Korea's nuclear and long-range missile programmes.

At the end of last year a Japanese delegation first time in a decade had arrived in Pyongyang in order to monitor North Korea’s investigation of the Cold War era kidnapping of the Japanese citizens.

The visit had come after Tokyo eased sanctions against the Pyongyang governance in July when North Korea pledged to retake the issue of abductions which were carried out in the 1970s and 1980s.

Tokyo says it has identified at least 17 of its nationals during the mentioned era was abducted by the North Korean intelligence to train those for spying against Japan.

Tokyo also believes that hundreds of people were snatched to train the North's spies in Japanese language and customs.

North Korea admitted in 2002 that it had kidnapped 13 of Japanese citizens to train as spies. While five of those abductees returned home, Pyongyang said the eight others had died without producing tangible evidence.

The North’s statement has further provoked uproar in Japan, where there are suspicions that the actual number of abductees could be well into the hundreds.

Japanese officials had expected a report on details of the probe around September, but North Korea recently said it would be unable to supply substantial information within the defined time frame.

Yamatani has expressed her country’s disappointment with the issue by saying, "We very much regret that they have not come up with any report.

“In the end, I think what is important is whether or not North Korea takes specific action towards the improvement and resolution of its own problems including the human rights problems such as abduction."

Japan took a decision on March 30 to extend two years unilateral sanctions imposed on North Korea since Pyongyang could not have fulfilled its promises given last year’s May on the Japanese abductions in the  1970s and 80s.

Tokyo and Pyongyang have no formal diplomatic ties, partially because of what Japan says is the “North's unwillingness” to come clean over the issue.


TRTWorld and agencies