Japan may ban N.Korea ships from ports

May 16, 2004 at 11:03 AM
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ASAHIKAWA, Japan, May 16 (UPI) -- Japan's Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Shinzo Abe said a bill banning North Korean ships might be scrapped if there's progress on abductees.

The Kyodo News Service reported Sunday Abe said if eight relatives of the five repatriated Japanese abductees are allowed to return to Japan and North Korea explains what happened to 10 missing Japanese, the bill might become unnecessary.

"Unless the abduction issue is completely resolved, we have to enact this legislation during the current Diet session," Abe said. "We have to use this effectively."

North Korea has acknowledged kidnapping at least 13 Japanese citizens during the 1970s and 1980s, Kyodo said.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is set to visit Pyongyang, North Korea, May 22 to discuss the abduction issue and North Korea's nuclear weapons programs with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

"It is the North Korean government which knows their whereabouts," Abe said. "They must give us answers that will convince us about this issue when the prime minister visits North Korea."

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