It was November 2002 when we started a movement to internationally appeal for resolution of the abduction of Japanese citizens allegedly conducted by North Korea.
On September 17, 2002, the first top-level meeting was held between Mr. Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan and Kim Jong Il, the Military Commission of North Korea and the two leaders signed the "Japan -North Korea Joint declaration ".Mr.Kim Jong Il admitted in the meeting that the alleged abduction of Japanese citizens was conducted by a military spy agency of North Korea which North Korean government had claimed for long to be a complete fabrication by Japanese government and finally apologized to Japanese people.
As a result, five abductees and their families came back to Japan. However, although the Kim Jong Il administration should be perfectly responsible for full revelation of the truth behind all abduction cases under the Joint Declaration, they suddenly started to claim that all other abductees than the returnees had already died for unexplainable reasons and therefore the abduction cases had been already resolved. They have never changed this unfaithful stance at all since then .
Under this situation, we, the "Group of Seven Individuals " as Japanese citizens with consciousness started the movement, beyond difference of each ideological stance, got together to start a movement to arouse international opinion for the abduction cases and to solicit people to facilitation to post an advocacy advertisement in New York Times in November 2002. Finally, an advocacy advertisement titled "THIS IS A FACT "was p osted in New York Times on December 23, 2002, just one month after we started the movement. Almost 14 million yen voluntarily donated by 2,473 Japanese citizens supported the advertisement. The news touched off sensational response from the public and the media both at home and abroad. Triggered by the ad, New York Times as well as other foreign media delivered more articles on the abduction cases than before.
However, no visible progress has unfortunately been seen in resolution of the abduction cases for the years since then. Old parents of the abductees have passed away from pillar to post, longing for the time of reunion of the separated families. Looking at the situation, we, the Seven Individuals who once appealed for resolution of the abduction cases in 2002 have been asking ourselves what we should do again. We all seriously discussed and agreed to advertise an epistle in New York Times to demand leadership of the 44th President Barack Obama on action to fight jointly with Japanese citizens to resolve the abduction cases and to remedy human rights situation in North Korea. Now, we again appeal for commencement of a movement to post the epistle in New York Times.
The previous movement started just after the North Korean government admitted the abduction cases. While donations from people exceeded the target amount in a very short period of time, we must admit that it was accounted for by then growing anger of Japanese against North Korea. We are asking ourselves again ,"c an we be successful this time?" Let us answer the question this way; trusting the maturity of the national consciousness that we must never give up until we get the last abductee back home from North Korea, we now solicit people for participation in this movement.
We know the government's two-trillion yen cash handout plan (a.k.a. "TEIGAKU KYUFU KIN ") is highly controversial among people under whicheach individual will receive 12,000 yen. We all have decided to contribute to the movement the entire amount of the planned cash handouts that we will receive. This is because we trust that Japanese citizens with conscience can show a way to get together in one voice to achieve with sense of mission the high-minded goal even with the amount that must be of the controversial nature if each is asked what this money is truly meant to be. And, more than that, this is because we do trust there is nothing more important than the national consciousness that we must regain our nationals from North Korea.
The official rate for advertising is 67,000 USD, equivalent to 6,500,000 JPY. If any surplus is left over the advertising rate, we are planning to broadcast a TV advertisement in the U.S. to appeal for resolution of the abduction cases if affordable or donate the surplus to the "Group of Family Members of Those Abducted by North Korea " (a.k.a. "KAZOKU -KI ") as we did last time.
We urge people's positive participation in this movement.
The "Group of Seven Individuals "
Yoshifu Arita, journalist
Masahiko Katsuya, columnist
Tetsuro Kato, professor at Hitotsubashi University
Toshimitsu Shigemura, professor at Waseda University
Hotoshi Takase, journalist
Takashi Higaki, writer/journalist
Reiko Yukawa, music critic