Unification minister says Seoul to share data on Japanese abductees with Tokyo: interview

South Korea's point man on North Korea said in an interview published Friday that the government will acquire information on Japanese abductees in North Korea from defectors and share it with the Japanese government. Unification Minister Kim Yung-ho made the remarks in an interview with the Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun, stating that the ministry will expand its list of potential responses from two options -- South Korea or another country -- to include Japan when questioning North Korean defectors who had been abducted about their nationality. Kim was quoted as saying that adding Japan may lead to more information on the abductees. Such a move is part of efforts to uphold the spirit of the Camp David summit last year, where the leaders of South Korea, the United States and Japan reaffirmed their shared commitment to the immediate resolution of the human rights issue, Kim said. Japan has said North Korea abducted 17 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s. It has insisted 12 of them are still in the No rth, excluding five whom the North let return home, following then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's trip to Pyongyang in 2002. At that time, the North admitted having abducted 13 Japanese nationals in the past to train its spies on the Japanese language and culture. While returning the five, North Korea claimed the other eight were dead. In the interview, Kim called for establishing a firm deterrence against North Korea through trilateral cooperation among the three countries, noting the North is likely to continue its military provocations for the time being. On North Korea's power succession, Kim said the level of protocol for leader Kim Jong-un's daughter, Ju-ae, appears to be escalating, while the role of Kim's influential sister, Yo-jong, is relatively shrinking, according to the interview. Source: Yonhap News Agency