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LFNKR Activist
Disappears in China

November 1, 2002

Mr. Hiroshi Kato is one of the founding members of LFNKR.

Missing Since October 30

Mr. Hiroshi Kato (age 57), who arrived in Dalian, China on Oct. 29, 2002 to carry out activities for our NGO (LFNKR), disappeared after leaving the Tian-Fu Hotel in Dalian on the morning of Oct. 30.

He was scheduled to return to Tokyo on Oct. 31. His practice is to phone us at least three times daily, but no one has heard anything from him since the morning of the 30th.

Our NGO, "Life Funds for North Korean Refugees," is a Japan- based organization, which, as the name suggests, is engaged in helping North Korean refugees.

We have done our best to locate Mr. Kato, but we still cannot find him, and none of our friends or contacts in that area has been able to locate him. This is a matter of grave concern.

We envision two possibilities.

One is that Mr. Kato has been detained by Chinese police for some reason. If so, we strongly urge the Chinese authorities to immediately investigate this matter and locate Mr. Kato, and explain in detail why he has been detained.

Another possibility is that Mr. Kato has been illegally detained or abducted by a North Korean agency, which is active behind the scenes in the Northeast area of China. If so, we demand that they release him immediately.

The Chinese authorities must observe the international rules governing human rights and humanity and promptly effect his release.

As a small NGO engaged in the humanitarian rescue of North Korean refugees, we cannot tolerate barbaric behavior such as the possible abduction of our staff member.

We appeal to all people of conscience, including NGOs and journalists worldwide - please help us.

Kenkichi Nakadaira
Life Funds for North Korean Refugees