Koizumi and Kim

A reasonable person would wager that the last place Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi would ever want to revisit would be North Korea. The first time he went, in September 2002, Koizumi intended to show his skill and stature as an international statesman. That backfired spectacularly when Kim Jong Il confessed unrepentantly that North Korea had kidnapped 13 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and '80s—and had no intention of allowing the five survivors to return home. The Japanese public was outraged, the fate of the kidnap victims became Koizumi's biggest headache, and the issue cramped Japan's ability to help the international...

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