Liberal Democratic Party member and former Chief Secretary Koichi Kato has sparked harsh reactions from bloggers [ja] and on 2channel [ja] with a comment he made on July 7th. In his comment, Kato connected the stagnation of Japanese-Korea negotiations with the government decision in 2002 not to return 5 Japanese abductees to North Korea after they had been delivered to Japan by North Korea for what was expected to be only a short time. The abductees were among a group of Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea in the late 1970s and early 1980s, most of whom remain missing to this day.
According to the wire report [ja] quoted in blogs and forums, on the decision in 2002 not to return the visiting abductees to Pyongyang, Kato commented that: “(It was said that) if they were returned once, Pyongyang would kill them, but this is what distinguishes my political stance (from those of politicians like Abe [Shinzo]). There is no reason to believe that they would have been able to do that.”
Blogger jieeku at rare metal responds:
Whatever may be said, abduction is nothing less than a criminal act.
“The abduction issue is simple. It's a crime.”
The great majority of citizens consider abduction a crime.
Do Japanese politicians think of the [abduction] victims as nothing else but a political tool?
Still now, you haven't even tried to rescue these Japanese citizens from the crime [of abduction], so what are you talking about Kato?
Blogger kisaragiyayoi852 asks:
Will politicians do anything, even stand by and watch someone die, if it is in the national interest?
Some were much more succinct in their message. Blogger yoshikazu53toyoshima reacts to the news with two lines: