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Families of abduction victims have high hopes for Trump's efforts to solve issue with Kim

Shigeo Iizuka, chairman of the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea, speaks to reporters in Ageo, Saitama Prefecture, on April 18, 2018. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Families of victims of abduction by North Korea feel that progress will be made in efforts to return the abductees as U.S. President Donald Trump promised in his talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to bring up the matter in his upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Shigeo Iizuka, 79, brother of abductee Yaeko Taguchi and chairman of the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea, said, "President Trump understands the abduction issue and I think he's determined to solve the matter.

"This will be the first step toward a resolution. I'd like him to draw up a thorough strategy and pursue this opportunity based on the awareness that this is the first and last chance," Iizuka continued.

At the same time, Iizuka urged the U.S. leader to "not just raise the abduction issue at the U.S.-North Korea summit talks but to also obtain a definite promise from North Korea regarding how to return Japanese abduction victims."

Kenichi Ichikawa, 73, brother of abductee Shuichi Ichikawa who went missing at a beach in Kagoshima Prefecture in 1978 at age 23, said he met with Trump when the U.S. president visited Japan last year, and recalled that the president told him that he would try to ensure that the abductees could return to their families.

"I'm grateful that he will raise the abduction issue in the U.S.-North Korea summit. We've suffered for the past 40 years. The summit will be a chance in a million. We pray for progress on the issue," he said.

(Japanese original by Tomoyuki Hori, City News Department)

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