High School Category 2nd Prize
11th grade, Keiai Gakuen Senior High School
I wonder how many people know that there are said to be more than 500 victims of the "Abductions of Japanese citizens from Japan by agents of the North Korean government." To be honest, I did not know about it until I researched the issue in preparation for writing this essay. It is also reported that the abductees are from over a dozen countries, not just Japan. As someone who is not directly involved in the abduction issue, I believe that I can do what I can now to convey to future generations the vileness and seriousness of the issue and the necessity of resolving it. I would be happy if this essay contributes to that effort.
I watched the movie "Megumi" which is about the abduction issue a second time this year. While feeling anger and frustration at the fact that the abductions have apparently not been stopped, I was also moved by the devotion of the families of the abductees. This year, however, in addition to the feelings I had last year, I wondered if I could somehow be of help to the victims. After watching the film, I had a discussion with the club members, and many of them expressed their desire to help the abductees as I did, and also expressed their opinions on how to solve the issue, saying, "In addition to this essay contest, I would like to actively participate in any other activities related to the abduction issue and share my thoughts and ideas," "After entering university, I want to start a club to discuss the issue of the abductions and create a place where more people can learn about it." and so on.
Due to the advancing age of the victims' families and the COVID-19 epidemic, their activities have been significantly less vigorous than in the past. In these current circumstances, the ability of young people to send out messages is becoming more and more crucial. There are many things that can be done, such as the ongoing petition drives and public advocacy campaigns held on the streets. With that in mind, in addition to the continuation of the essay contest in the future, opportunities such as theatrical performances and speeches would be additional avenues of action. In addition, if more schools screen the movie "Megumi" in their classes and club activities, more young people will seriously consider what they can do to help, just as I became interested in the abduction issue after watching the movie for the first time last year and became educated on the issue through my own research, I believe. Oral communication, "my weapon of choice", is a very powerful tool for disseminating my thoughts and feelings to my intended audience. Through my speeches, I would like to share with the audience the meaning of my activism regarding the abduction issue, my ideas for a solution, and my wish that all the people of Japan confront the issue of the abductions together.
I believe that if people who are not affected by the abductions take an interest in the current situation, even if it is small at first, and if enough people take up the cause, it will eventually move the government and bring it one step closer to resolving the problem. November 15th, the day Ms. Megumi Yokota was abducted by North Korea, also happens to be my birthday. While I am surrounded by friends and family members congratulating me, the world is shrouded in an atmosphere of sadness and anger due to the media coverage of the abductions. I have mixed feelings every year when I see it happen. It is my heartfelt wish that November 15th becomes a day when everyone in the world is surrounded by happiness.