9th grade, Kumamoto Prefectural Uto Junior High School
A couple who wished to be as happy as possible. It was a simple wish, but one day that happiness was suddenly shattered. They can't see, talk or even be near each other, The Yokota family has actually had to deal with such a harsh situation. It is impossible for us to understand how much hard they felt.
In the 2017 public opinion poll on foreign affairs released by the Cabinet Office 40 years after the abduction of Megumi Yokota, 78. 3% of respondents cited the issue of Japanese abductions, falling below 80% for the first time and the become lowest since 2002. I found that particularly younger people were not interested in the issue, and I tried to found out why the level of interest had declined. I believe it is the bias of media coverage on nuclear issues. I want you to look up "North Korea News" on the Internet right now. It is the clear evident that most of the coverages are on the nuclear issues, but very few articles on abductions. So I believe what is important for young people is the opportunities to learn about abductions. There are two specific ways to take advantage of these opportunity.
First, we should have discussions with people around us. By talking about the abduction issues with friends or family members, we can exchange opinions and deepen our interests in the issues and exchange correct information. In fact, my class had time to learn and exchange ideas in civic class. In the class, we had several ways to exchange our opinions, and found contradictions between the general opinions and the emotional opinions. Discussions give us the benefit of increasing concreteness and making it easier to take action.
Second, we should actively participate in awareness-raising activities. In fact, I did not know much about abductions until I studied them. However, my teacher taught us abduction issues and I became interested in them, which gave me the opportunity to look into them deeply. So I think it is wonderful to participate in something like this contest that can teach us a lot and even others.
In a world where compassion often fades amidst daily routines, the story of the Yokota family stands as a poignant reminder of the fragility of happiness and the need for unwavering empathy. Their heartrending experience serves as a call to action for each of us to transcend our own concerns and engage earnestly with issues that shape lives beyond our own. By breaking the cycle of apathy through genuine discussions and active participation, we can infuse our generation with a renewed sense of responsibility, awakening the potential for positive change and a brighter future.
There is a limitation to what we can do, but there is a great value in what we can do. We, students, can do what I told you. At the end of this essay, I will tell all of you that I will sustain my curiosity, try hard to spread knowledge about the abduction issues to people around the world, and contribute to the solution.