White House: US Maintains 'Open Channels' With North Korea

Kim Jong-un

Families of Japanese individuals suspected to have been abducted by North Korea called on the worldwide community Friday to support their struggle to find out the fates of their loved ones ahead of their visit to the global Criminal Court next week.

The group will present a petition requesting investigation into the disappearances as a case of crimes against humanity to raise global attention about the issue, said Kazuhiro Araki, who heads a support group for families of the missing.

Family members of Japanese kidnapping victims are filing a petition to take North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to court.

He said: "It is not the time to ease pressure or to reward North Korea".

This is real, and the lives of millions of Americans and other citizens of the world are literally at stake, and in a war involving North Korea in whatever phase of nuclear weapons development that country is in, the outcome would be uncertain. Five of the 17 were returned to Japan in 2002.

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Japan's National Police Agency lists over 850 people as those involved in probable abductions by the North, with many of them overlapping the 470.

"Arresting Kim Jong Un and bringing him in would be rather hard, but it's extremely important to show that there are human rights abuses taking place", Kazuhiro Araki, who leads a support group for the family members, told The Japan Times.

The Vancouver meeting aims to improve the effectiveness of the U.S. led campaign on North Korea.

In the past, North Korean officials have said they would launch their own investigation into the missing but the family members are still waiting, according to Reuters.

While the abductions themselves were carried out under the orders of North Korea's deceased leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, the current leader "is aware that not a small percentage of the abductees are still alive and that their freedom is severely restricted", says a draft petition obtained by Kyodo News on Thursday.



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