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Accidental ActivistsVictim Movements and Government Accountability in Japan and South Korea$
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Celeste L. Arrington

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780801453762

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801453762.001.0001

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The North Korean Abductions and Abductee Families’ Activism

The North Korean Abductions and Abductee Families’ Activism

(p.147) 5 The North Korean Abductions and Abductee Families’ Activism
Accidental Activists

Celeste L. Arrington

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on the social movements spawned by North Korean abductions. Since the Korean War, North Korea (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK) has purportedly kidnapped thousands of foreign nationals. In the late 1990s, families of suspected abductees began organizing in Japan and South Korea. Aside from blaming the DPRK, the associations of abductee families also held their own governments accountable. Both movements gained elite allies early on. Subsequent differences in the extent of grassroots mobilizing help account for the distinctive content of redress in each country and their government’ other actions. These cases present an opportunity to explore how the costs of early access to elite allies may vary depending on dynamic interactions among redress claimants and other third-party supporters. Although another state (the DPRK) is the primary villain involved, these cases illustrate the downsides to gaining elite allies early in a conflict and the importance of analyzing social movements and their efforts to mobilize third-party supporters in dynamic and relational terms.

Keywords:   North Korea, South Korea, Japan, redress, victims, abductees, political allies, social movements, third-party support

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