For seven days (April 26-May 2), conservative nationalist groups from the US, Japan, and South Korea lay aside their natural animosities toward each other and work together to pressure the US government to pay attention to human rights abuses in North Korea. These are the same folks who ignore human rights issues in their own countries and generally have little use for the concept in foreign policy. It is strange to see these conservatives tossing about an traditionally "liberal" democratic ideal as an appeal to the American foreign policy establishment.
I guess they haven't heard that the State Department is taking a more practical approach to human rights by getting its priorities straight.
Stranger is the Japanese delegation that comes every year. It is unlikely that the Americans involved really know who these politicians and "scholars" are. To a man, they are the very same people who vigorously attacked the members of congress they are now stand beside for their views on Comfort Women and Japan 's history issues. If Takeo Hiranuma ever heard Ed Royce's inspiring words on the universality of the comfort women experience he might have another heart attack.
Left out of their biographies are their memberships in Japan's Parliamentary study groups that advocate for the return of the government led by the Emperor and Shinto, that "prove" the US tricked the Japan into the Pacific War, and that the Tokyo War Crimes Trial were mere victor's justice. All are members of the ultra-nationalist Japan Conference that seeks to maintain Japan's national purity. It goes without saying, none of these men would welcome North Korean refugees to Japan.
The North Koreans despise these Japanese politicians not for their views on Pyongyang's human rights violations, but for their simple racist views toward Koreans and Chinese. Here is where both Seoul and Beijing agree with the North Koreans. It is odd that American politicians would seek the support of Japanese who so anger our top allies helping us restrain North Korea.
The unfortunate fact is that these Japanese conservative nationalists have "abducted" the abductees families for their own political goals. Human rights are less their interest than proving that Japan has enemies, that these enemies are Korean and Chinese, and that previous politicians in Japan were simply too soft--softened by the America imposed pacifist constitution and the masochistic history--to defend Japan properly.
Gosh, sorry, that was a mouthful. Maybe later, I will share some quotes from these guys. If I have the time and if anyone cares.