Help Us Bring Them Home
You can help us by doing the following:
- Write your friends. Tell them about this issue. Through greater awareness of the problem, change will happen much more quickly. You can always direct them to this website for more information.
- Write an email to the families of the abductees. Let them know that people in other countries care about them and what they’re going through. You can email us here. We’ll make sure it gets to them.
- Buy a DVD of the film, “ABDUCTION The Megumi Yokota Story”. Details at www.abductionfilm.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Some of the proceeds of the sale will go directly to the families of the abductees.
- Volunteer for ReACH or a ReACH-sponsored event. We’ll take any amount of help and you don’t have to be an expert in the issue to help out. We need passionate people who care about human rights and assisting others in their time of need.
- Send the following email or letter to your Congressman or Senator. Note: Public officials do often read hand-written letters from constituents. You can hand-write the following letter, or add a short handwritten note along with it. For a list of Congressman, go to www.house.gov - for a list of Senators, go to www.senate.gov:
I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to you about an urgent situation that I believe our country should be concerned about. It involves the abduction of foreign citizens by North Korea.
In 2002, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il admitted publicly that his secret agents had abducted 13 Japanese people. These people were innocent civilians like you and me who were going about their daily lives when they suddenly disappeared. The Japanese “abductees”, as they are known, were used to train North Korean spies in the language and culture of the Japanese so that they could then carry out missions around the world pretending to be Japanese. One of the victims of these abductions was a 13-year-old girl, kidnapped on her way home from school.
As I’m sure you can imagine, North Korea’s admission was shocking for many people but it was also followed by an even more disturbing announcement: 8 of the 13 people were reported dead including the little girl, Megumi Yokota. Although North Korea claims that those 8 people are dead, their families have every reason to believe it is not true. Many of them died in dubious circumstances including gas leaks, car accidents, drowning, sudden illness, heart attack and other explanations. The little girl is said to have died of suicide. However, the North Koreans have never provided any definitive proof that any of them are dead. Moreover, they claim that most of the bodies of the dead were washed away in floods. In 2004, the North Koreans attempted to prove Megumi Yokota’s death by handing over the remains of the girl to Japan. DNA tests revealed that the remains were not hers.
The families of these abduction victims continue to campaign for their release from North Korea. As you can imagine, the disappearances scarred the families for life but did not stop them from searching for their loved ones. In 2006, the mother of Megumi Yokota testified before Congress about her daughter’s disappearance. She also met with President Bush at the White House. The President subsequently called it one of the most moving meetings he’d ever had. Many of the parents of the children who were abducted are now getting much older and even though their determination to see their children never slows down, their bodies are. They long to see their kids before they pass away. For some parents of the missing, it is already too late.
Although the official number of kidnapped is 17, independent investigations suggest the numbers may be as high as 500 people. Other countries whose citizens have been kidnapped include South Korea, Romania, Thailand, Italy, Holland, France, China, Lebanon, Jordan, Singapore and Malaysia.
As a citizen of the United States and a believer in the rule of international law, I am appalled at the kidnapping of these innocent citizens by North Korea. I believe it to be a horrific violation of human rights and international law. The Japanese government has attempted on a number of occasions to raise the issue with North Korea but the North Koreans claim there is nothing left to discuss. The Japanese have made every attempt to resolve this issue diplomatically but they continue to be stonewalled by the Kim Jong Il administration. Moreover, the issue of these abductions continues to hang like a dark cloud over every discussion of North Korea’s nuclear program. These are discussions that the United States is very much involved in and affected by.
Therefore I ask you, as a political leader and one who cares about the importance of the United States’ role in world affairs, to urge Congress to push for a greater US involvement in the resolution of this issue. The United States must make the release of all remaining abductees a precondition for any improved relations with North Korea. As an important ally of Japan and a leader in human rights, I believe the United States should stand up for an issue that affects the dignity of all of us.
Thank you very much for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.