Statement on the Issue of North Korea

March 10, 2003

Japanese Trade Union Confederation (JTUC-RENGO)

In October 2002, at a meeting between U.S. and North Korean high officials held in Pyongyang, North Korea admitted that, in contravention to the 1994 framework agreement pledging to freeze its nuclear development program, it had been secretly developing enriched uranium that could be used in nuclear weapons. Then, on January 10, 2003, it declared that it would withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

In addition, during his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on September 17, 2002, General Secretary Kim Jong Il admitted that his country had abducted Japanese citizens.

RENGO, from the perspective of being citizens of the only victim country of nuclear bombing, believes that nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction should not be held by any country, for any reason. We also believe that the abductions represent extreme violations of both human rights and of national sovereignty.

Consequently, we make the following resolution, and will lobby the respective governments on these issues.

  1. North Korea’s withdrawal from the NPT is not acceptable, as it will weaken the NPT regime, represent a step backward for denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, and lead to extreme tensions in Northeast Asia. North Korea should immediately return to the NPT, and cease its development of nuclear weapons.

  2. The Japanese government should adopt a clear stance that there can be no normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries or any economic cooperation as long as the issues of the abductions and nuclear weapons development are not resolved, and should respond to these problems on its own initiative.

    With regard to the problem of nuclear development, which has already been referred to the United Nations Security Council, Japan must, as one of the major countries of the region, work in close cooperation with the U.S. and South Korea, call for the cooperation of China and Russia, and actively carry out diplomatic activities at the United Nations aiming for a peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue.

    With regard to the abduction issue, the Japanese government must make maximum efforts to achieve a full resolution, including the full liberation and permanent return to Japan of the victims, as well as compensation.