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Japan welcomes Trump's rebuke of N. Korea's abduction of Japanese

A senior Japanese official on Tuesday welcomed U.S. President
Donald Trump's criticism of North Korea's abduction of Japanese
nationals in the 1970s and 1980s in his address to the U.N. General
Assembly.

Trump's speech reflects "deeper understanding" in the United
States about the abduction issue, a high-priority issue for Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe's government, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary
Yasutoshi Nishimura told journalists on the fringes of the annual
gathering of world leaders in New York.

"I think it means an understanding (about the issue) has gotten
through" to the United States and other countries, Nishimura said.
"We earned understanding from President Trump, who quoted the issue
in the speech."

Japan will continue to do its best in resolving the abduction
issue while also addressing Pyongyang's development of nuclear
weapons and ballistic missiles, he said.

Trump condemned North Korea's human rights record during his
first general debate address at the General Assembly, which included
a reference to Pyongyang's abduction of Megumi Yokota, one of the
abductees who was taken from Niigata Prefecture on the Sea of Japan
coast while on her way home from school in 1977.

"We know it kidnapped a sweet 13-year-old Japanese girl from a
beach in her own country to enslave her as a language tutor for North
Korea's spies," the president said.

During a meeting last week in Washington, Matt Pottinger, senior
director for Asia at the U.S. National Security Council, told Takuya
Yokota, a brother of Megumi, that Trump is familiar with the
abduction issue -- including the case of Megumi -- because Abe
briefed the president on it during talks.

According to Eriko Yamatani, a former minister in charge of the
abduction issue who joined the Yokota-Pottinger meeting, Pottinger
said Trump had instructed him to study North Korea's human rights
violations.

Pottinger was quoted by Yamatani as saying that the Trump
administration would like to take into account the abduction issue
when discussing the potential relisting of North Korea as a state
sponsor of terrorism.

Japan officially lists 17 citizens as abduction victims and
suspects North Korea's involvement in many more disappearances. While
five of the 17 were repatriated in 2002, Pyongyang maintains that
eight -- including Megumi Yokota -- have died and the other four
never entered the country. (Sept. 19)