North Korea continues to ignore the UN resolutions and has repeatedly committed outrageous misconducts, such as the nuclear bomb tests and the ballistic missile launches. My resentment has risen beyond the critical level. I now feel that we definitely must do something to stop them.
In response to a last-minute call to join the protest in front of the Headquarters of Chosen Soren (the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, North Korea’s de facto embassy in Tokyo), I decided to join the protest in Tokyo on June 6, although it cost me time and money to travel to Tokyo from Hiroshima where I live. It was a protest against North Korea’s terrorism involving human rights violations, abductions, and nuclear explosions.
Unfortunately, it was raining on the protest day, but about 40 people gathered, mainly from NGOs related to the issues of North Korean refugees and North Korean human rights violations. The factors that moved me to join the protests were the abductions, the human rights violations, and the need for democratization of North Korea. I hope this protest will help to mark a step toward realizing those changes.
The protest meeting was orderly. The representative of each NGO protested demands for improving the above issues, and all participants chorused our demands. Since there was a school in the neighborhood, we were not allowed to use microphones or loudspeakers.
In addition to being a member of LFNKR, I am also involved in the movement for helping Japanese abductees. Unfortunately, the abduction issue has seen little progress. I am frustrated with the Japanese government’s way of handling the abduction issue. It seems to me that our government is negligent, as it refuses to try any other approach than depending only on the six-party talks, alongside its ally, the USA.
The recent UN Security Council 1718 Resolution demands that North Korea refrain from conducting further nuclear tests or missile launches. This Resolution, which was issued in response to the missile launch by North Korea on April 5 and the second nuclear weapon test on May 25, mention additional economic sanctions. Deleted from the Resolution, however, were all references to the abduction issue, a grave human rights violation.
No noticeable progress has resulted from past talk between Japan and North Korea on resolving the abduction issue and the human rights issue in North Korea. It is needless to point out that the six-party talks remain fruitless so far. And if I were to try and predict North Korea’s response to the recent UN Security Council Resolution on sanctions, I have to assume the framework of the six-party talks will lose all meaning.
If North Korea successfully achieves compact nuclear warheads and proceeds with further development of missiles, the lives and safety of everyone living in Japan will be in serious jeopardy. Our efforts for denuclearizing North East Asia would go right down the drain, while competition for nuclear deterrence could become a real possibility.
Kim Jong-il’s regime continues its inhuman governance. Running political prison camps and never releasing abductees, even after admitting the abductions, are obviously crimes against humanity and human rights. It may be time for us to admit one hard fact – that “talks” with this regime are useless for solving problems.
If we turn to a dependence on the use of force, some may worry that it would start a chain of blood. It seems to me that, ironically, Kim Jong-il’s regime is already teaching us that we will have to pay a price if we are to win freedom, democracy, and basic human rights.
Now, what do we do? How will we be able to protect the lives and human rights of the suffering people, including those returnees who want to come back to Japan? Will we be able to force the regime to close the gulags, including the political prison camps, in North Korea? Will we be able to help those abductees?
How many more days will we wait, hoping that time alone will solve the problems? Or should we instead strike a single influential blow to gain a breakthrough? There is so little time left. That is how I feel.
Many thoughts such as these ran through my mind during my recent trip back to Hiroshima.