TOKYO – Family members of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea met Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday at the Prime Minister's Office.
Among the family members were Sakie Yokota, 85, the mother of Megumi Yokota, who was abducted in 1977 at age 13, and Shigeo Iizuka, 83, the representative of a group of abductees' relatives who is an elder brother of Yaeko Taguchi, who is believed to have been abducted in 1978 when she was 22.
It was the first time for Kishida to meet the family members since he took office.
"The most important task is to solve the abduction issue. I have to lead the efforts," Kishida said.
As family members are growing old, Yokota said: "We don't know how long we can wait for their return. We would be grateful if we were able to be blessed (with their return) while we are well."
The meeting lasted about an hour, exceeding the scheduled 30 minutes.
"We told the prime minister that we want the government to do something, as we have been waiting for their return for a long time," Iizuka said. "It is not enough for the government to just say, 'We will do it.' We want them to proceed toward a solution based on a concrete plan."