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Towards the immediate Rescue of All Abductees! North Korean Human Rights Abuses Awareness Week Essay Competition 2023 / Hosted by Headquarters for the Abduction Issue, Government of Japan Supportes by the Ministry of Justice,and the Ministry of Fotreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Education,Culuture,Sports,Science and Technology

Award-winning essay


Junior High School Category 2nd Prize

Thinking of Issues In A Personal Way

IKEDA Nanase
9th grade, Minamidaito village Minamidaito Junior High School

 I attended the Middle School Summit on the North Korean Abduction of Japanese Citizens held on August 10th. During that time, I attended the lecture of YOKOTA Takuya, who is the brother of the abductee YOKOTA Megumi, and was encouraged to think anew about what is needed to resolve this issue.  

 Before YOKOTA Takuya spoke of the events of that day, he talked about the importance of taking things in and reacting to them as though they were of personal significance to you. YOKOTA Megumi was abducted when she was 13 years old. The winter of her first year of middle school, she went to school just as normal, worked hard in her club activities, and afterwards she was kidnapped on her way home. Her home was a five-minute walk from the coastline, and her school was ten minutes further from there. Mixing in real-life geography, he spoke of the period from when Megumi was abducted to when the abduction was discovered. I got more of a sense than through the anime and literature, etc. that I was standing there at that time, and got goosebumps.  

 YOKOTA Takuya's lecture finished, I thought vaguely about his words while listening to the explanation of the next work. I realized suddenly that I had not been viewing Megumi and Takuya with pity; I felt genuine heartbreak for them. It was a completely different feeling than when I watched the anime or read books relating to the kidnapping. That was the first time I thought of this problem directly as my own.  

 I wondered if I normally took issues that habitually occur as my own issues. Thinking about the fact that same-sex marriage is still not recognized, or watching tragic events on the news, I might feel sorry or sympathetic, but I wouldn't take these issues in as my own. Wasn't that because I only knew about these things on a surface level? So what should I do to take things in a more personal way? Only the people involved know what something really feels like. However, I can become aware. Just like when I listened to the events of the kidnapping and did my own research, I was able to think about the issue as a problem that I was involved in.  

 There is something called the color bath effect. It says that whatever you concern yourself with naturally comes into view in your daily life. You are keeping in mind that problems like this exist. If there's something relating to these problems online and in the news, they'll surely catch your attention. I believe that this way, by coming in contact with the problem a little bit every day, the issue will feel personal and close to you.  

 Next it is your turn to convey it to someone else. Speak to friends and family, or try posting about it online. By widening the circle of interest that way, more people might consider it as their own issue, which may lead to resolution of the problem.

North Korean Human Rights Abuses Awareness Week Essay Competition 2023

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