Japan-North Korea Relations
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Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's Visit to North Korea

September 17, 2002

  1. On September 17, 2002, Prime Minister Koizumi visited North Korea and held a summit meeting with Kim Jong-Il, Chairman of the National Defense Commission of North Korea, and signed the "Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration".
  2. Assessment
    • (i) The aim of this visit was, through a frank discussion between the two leaders, (a) to achieve a breakthrough of the situation towards a resolution of the various issues between the two countries, including the abduction issue, by eliciting the political will of Chairman Kim Jong-Il, and (b) to firmly urge North Korea to act as a responsible member of the international community to dispel international concern about security issues such as nuclear and missile problems and to resolve such issues through the promotion of dialogue with the United States, the Republic of Korea and other concerned countries in order to ease the tension on the Korean Peninsula.
    • (ii) The issue of abduction is a vital matter directly linked to the lives and safety of the Japanese people. At the meeting information was disclosed related to the incidents of suspected abductions and Prime Minister Koizumi protested strongly to Chairman Kim Jong-Il. Chairman Kim Jong-Il honestly admitted that these were the work of persons affiliated with North Korea in the past and offered his apologies, expressing his regret. He stated that he had already punished them and he would ensure that no such incidents occur again in the future.
    • (n.b.) The North Korean side acknowledged that of the eleven Japanese people in eight cases and two missing in Europe, four were alive, eight were dead and one was unconfirmed of entry into North Korea. One person, for whom request for investigation had not been made, was confirmed to be alive.
    • (iii) On covert operation ships, Chairman Kim Jong-Il stated that it was thought to be the work of certain elements of the military authorities and that he intended to look into the matter further and take appropriate measures to ensure that no such case ever occur again.
    • (iv) On security issues, Chairman Kim Jong-Il confirmed the importance of promoting dialogue among the countries concerned to resolve the issues. He also stated that he would obey international agreements (relevant to nuclear problem in Korean Peninsula) and that he would freeze missile launching without any time limit.
    • (v) Chairman Kim Jong-Il was also willing to hold dialogue with South Korea and the United States of America for easing the tension on the Korean peninsula.
    • (vi) The summit meeting did not resolve all of the issues outstanding between Japan and North Korea, and they continued to remain grave concerns. However, it was judged that there was a prospect that the resolution of pending issues would be advanced in a comprehensive manner. As such, Prime Minister Koizumi decided to resume the normalization talks in order to move further towards the resolution of the issues.