How Do Public Actors Influence Foreign Policy? A Case of Abduction Issue between Japan and North Korea under the LDP Government

Yutaka Okuyama


In Japan, since the North Korean leadership admitted that its agents were responsible for kidnapping a certain number of Japanese in 2002, the government-sponsored normalization campaign has been halted. In addition to the missile and nuclear issues, the abduction is one of the strong obstacles to prevent both countries to normalize relations. Nevertheless, the issue between Japan and North Korea offers an interesting insight over the public-government relations in a democracy. The public reaction against North Korea had an official policy of normalization with North Korea turned over, which is a quite interesting to observe, because even a democratic government does not necessarily take all public demands into serious consideration. Thus, the North Korean abduction issue fits in a category of public-oriented policy realization. This study indicates that the public actors could get involved in the policy-making arena, if a government does not tackle an issue with certain determination and is polarized to reach consensus.

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