The families of Japanese abductees are, not surprisingly, unhappy with the Bush administration’s decision to remove the DPRK from its list of terrorism-sponsoring states:
“Even though they tell us they won’t forget…we can’t accept this.” On 26 June, when the United States government announced that it would drop North Korea from its list of states that sponsor terrorism, voices of despair and hopelessness were raised by the families of [Japanese] abductees, which had expected cooperation and effort from the US toward resolving the issue. The move also fomented mistrust toward the Japanese government, which approved of the removal: “Why didn’t they take a harder line?”
The families are questioning whether the US should have changed its position based on the documents submitted. Their bitterness is understandable–those who were abducted disappeared in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and several are still almost entirely unaccounted for. It’s hard to say what the best approach is, though. Slowly coaxing the DPRK to open up–assuming such a thing is possible–may ultimately be the only way to get access to such records of the abductees as remain.