Prime Minister Visits Niigata Prefecture and Meets with Returned Abductees
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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Niigata Prefecture.
Prime Minister Abe first went to Nagaoka City and visited temporary housing units to talk with residents who had been displaced due to the Chuetsu Earthquake that hit the region in 2004 from their homes in former Yamakoshi Village, part of which still remains under an evacuation order. Afterwards, Prime Minister Abe moved to Ojiya City, where he visited a cemetery dedicated to government troops who fought in the 19th century. During the Boshin War that broke out in 1868 between the Shogunate alliance and the new government forces, local residents in Ojiya mourned the young war dead of their enemy government troops in the sprit of the belief that "everyone becomes a Buddha when they die."
Next, in Tsubame City Prime Minister Abe observed one of Niigata's small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which has won many awards for its designs of products such as Western-style metallic tableware. He also exchanged opinions with members of the local chamber of commerce and employees of a metal polishing company that has set up a group with other local companies to receive orders jointly.
After moving to Niigata City, Prime Minister Abe observed another SME that polishes items such as the backs of mobile video players. There at the factory Prime Minister Abe tried the polishing process himself.
At a hotel in the city, Prime Minister Abe met with Mr. Kaoru Hasuike and four other abductees who had returned from North Korea. Prime Minister Abe said to them, "We have been greatly helped by the corporation and efforts by each one of the repatriated abductees, Ms. Soga, Mr. and Mrs. Hasuike and Mr. and Mrs. Chimura, as we endeavor to obtain a full account of the abduction issue and continue the necessary investigations. We intend to do all we can to realize the return of abductees whose whereabouts have yet to be confirmed."