Leading Japan PM candidate under fire over N. Korea
JAPAN: Yasuo Fukuda, the front-runner to be Japan's next prime
minister, said Friday he would keep up the pressure on North Korea if
elected this weekend.
Fukuda is seen as comfortably ahead for Sunday's party vote to
succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who built his career campaigning
against North Korea but resigned last week after a slew of domestic
North Korea is enemy number one for many Japanese conservatives,
particularly due to its abductions of Japanese civilians in the 1970s
and 1980s to train its spies.
Taro Aso, a hawkish former foreign minister who is challenging
Fukuda, questioned him about his past statements on North Korea in a
"Do you acknowledge a need to put pressure on North Korea?" Aso
"We need both dialogue and pressure in any kind of negotiations,"
"Some kidnapped people would not have returned home had there only
"Dialogue and pressure" was a catchphrase of Abe's predecessor
Junichiro Koizumi, who flew twice to Pyongyang to talk to leader Kim
At their landmark first summit in 2002, Kim admitted to the
kidnappings and later returned five abductees and their families. But
Japan says more are alive and kept under wraps.
"Unfortunately, there has since been no progress. I want to solve the
issue myself," Fukuda said of the abduction row.
Tokyo, Friday, AFP