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Nuke plants could be 'missile targets': ex-PM Koizumi

Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is seen during a speech in Obama, Fukui Prefecture, on Sept. 8, 2017. (Mainichi)

OBAMA, Fukui -- Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi warned that nuclear power plants in Japan could become targets of missiles in reference to the recent spate of North Korea's missile launches.

"Having nuclear plants is tantamount to possessing atomic bombs directed at the people of Japan," Koizumi said during a speech in Obama, Fukui Prefecture, on Sept. 8.

Referring to his historic visit to North Korea in 2002, which led to the return of some Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea, Koizumi noted that Pyongyang at the time had a contact point that enabled behind-the-scenes negotiations with Tokyo.

"The current leader (of North Korea) doesn't lend an ear to the international community. I feel sorry about a situation where the abduction issue hasn't been resolved," Koizumi said.

Prior to his speech, Koizumi met with Yasushi Chimura, 62, a former abductee by North Korea who returned to Japan in 2002 -- for the first time since Chimura's children were also brought back to Japan in 2004.

After the meeting, Chimura, a resident of Obama, said, "I want attention to be paid to the abduction issue, aside from the North's nuclear and missile programs. It would be difficult to resolve the abduction issue unless the prime minister is ready to visit North Korea."

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