Statement by Mr. Masayoshi Hamada,
Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
At the Preview of "Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story"
February 6, 2007
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you all for sharing your time with us tonight to see this extraordinary documentary film, "Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story."
Today I attended the signing ceremony of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance here in Paris co-hosted by the United Nations and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France. France has taken a key role throughout negotiations of the Convention, which aims to prevent "enforced disappearances" including abductions committed by a State.
"Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story" is the story of a family who is plunged into agony because of the "enforced disappearance" of their beloved daughter, Megumi. Ms. Megumi Yokota, then thirteen years old, suddenly vanished on her way home from school in 1977. Years later the family discovered that she was abducted by North Korean agents. Her family has continued, for 30 years, to search for their daughter and has never lost hope that one day she will return.
The issue of abduction is not limited to this case. At least seventeen Japanese citizens have been identified as victims of abduction by North Korea. Moreover, based on sources such as statements by returned abductees, there are citizens from the Republic of Korea, Lebanon, Thailand, Macau and some European countries, including France, who are also suspected of being victims of abduction by North Korea.
Prime Minister Abe is firmly committed to resolving the issue of these abductions. We hosted the preview of this touching film following his visit to France in January and received strong messages of compassion and solidarity from the audience after this preview. Taking this opportunity of the signing of the Convention to combat "enforced disappearances", we are once again hosting the preview of the film.
Lastly, I would like to ask for your understanding and support in solving the abduction issue so that all abductees can finally return to their families.
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