A US Embassy in Japan official has visited a beach on the Sea of Japan coast where a Japanese couple were abducted by North Korea decades ago.
First Secretary Booyeon Lee, in charge of North Korean issues at the United States Embassy in Tokyo, visited the site in Kashiwazaki City, Niigata Prefecture on Thursday.
Hasuike Kaoru and his then-girlfriend Okudo Yukiko, who would later become his wife, were abducted there in North Korea.
The couple returned to Japan after the 2002 Japan-North Korea summit in Pyongyang during which the North admitted its agents had abducted Japanese nationals.
After visiting the abduction site, the embassy official attended a meeting with Hasuike and the mayor at City Hall.
Hasuike told Lee that the issue of abductions now seems to be sidelined amid the North’s nuclear and missile development. He said the cooperation of the US government is needed now more than ever.
Lee said she hopes the visit will help her understand the seriousness of the abduction issue.
She also said that the US government will continue to stand in solidarity with the Japanese government on the immediate resolution of the matter.
The American diplomat is due to visit a site in the city of Niigata on Friday where Yokota Megumi was abducted by North Korean agents.