Missing Since October 30
November 3, 2002
Mr. Hiroshi Kato is one of the founding members of LFNKR.
Still No Word From Hiroshi Kato
Our taskforce for freeing activist Hiroshi Kato and
interpreter Masahiro Mizuta has analyzed and studied the
available information and concluded that these two men are
probably being illegally detained by the Chinese
authorities in the Northeast area of China, probably, in or
We first suspected that the North Korean secret military
police were involved in this matter. Judging, however, from
the current international situation and the attitude of the
Chinese authorities since the incident in which North Korean
refugees dashed into the Spanish Embassy in March this year,
we have come to believe that involvement of a North Korean
agency is very unlikely.
Following the incident in March, there has been no stopping
the stream of North Korean refugees running into foreign
missions or delegations. This has obviously prompted the
Chinese authorities to intensify their crackdown by
switching from the local level to the central government
We know that the Chinese Authorities have been dispatching
troops from the central government to Jilin, near the
border. The investigative troops are led by the deputy
general of the Public Security Dept. and deputy Chief of
Staff of Border Guard.
Thus, it is unlikely, we believe, that the North Korean
agencies would be able to work freely under such intensive
monitoring by the Chinese authorities.
The Chinese authorities have replied to the Japanese
Ministry of Foreign Affairs that, "No Japanese has been
captured by any of the relevant Chinese authorities in or
We, however, recently had substantial reason to believe that
the Chinese authorities were keeping Mr. Kato under
surveillance in an effort to entrap him. For this reason,
we have been especially careful, in our activities, to avoid
Despite our efforts, it seems likely that Mr. Kato and Mr.
Mizuta, the interpreter, may have been lured from the Tian-
Fu Hotel in Dalian under a ruse, such as claiming that a
refugee had encountered an emergency situation.
It is extremely probable that the Chinese authorities were
monitoring Mr. Kato and Mr. Mizuta. Likewise, it is
extremely unnatural to believe that any other organization
than the Chinese authorities are involved in this.
It has already been five days since we lost contact with Mr.
Kato and Mr. Mizuta, and the Chinese authorities have not
yet disclosed their whereabouts. We can only think that the
Chinese authorities are persecuting them for their
humanitarian efforts and subverting their human rights.
This ignoring of human rights and humanity by the Chinese
authorities puts into jeopardy China's position in the
Furthermore, since the safety of foreign visitors to China
is placed into question, this is an overwhelming reason
for people around the world to boycott the Olympic Games
scheduled for Beijing in 2008.
We strongly urge the Chinese authorities to disclose
promptly the whereabouts of Mr. Kato and Mr. Mizuta and to
release them immediately.
Life Funds for North Korean Refugees