Families of abducted Japanese in North Korea ask for help

4 years ago by in Japan, Korea, World

Relatives of Japanese citizens who were abducted by North Korea in the 1970’s and 1980’s asked for help to bring their loved ones back home, in a rally in Niigata Prefecture on Wednesday.

One of the rally participants, Sakie Yokota said her daughter Megumi was just 13 when she was kidnapped by North Korean agents. She said her last memory of Megumi is wearing a school uniform, but the reality is she will be 50 years old shortly. Sakie said to the media that she will never give up until her daughter comes home.

The march comes weeks before members of a U.N. special commission will visit Japan in order to clarify the situation of North Korean abduction cases in Japan. The U.N. representatives will question Japanese citizens involved in the matter, sources quoted by Kyodo said Tuesday.

The investigative commission consists of three experts on human rights — Australian chairperson Michael Kirby, Indonesian special rapporteur Marzuki Darusman and Serbian member Sonja Biserko. The visit is to be arranged around August 27. They plan to meet with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, Keiji Furuya, minister in charge of the abduction issue, and members of the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea, including its chief Shigeo Iizuka.

The abductions of Japanese citizens from Japan by agents of the North Korean government happened during a period of six years from 1977 to 1983. Although only 17 Japanese (eight men and nine women) are officially recognized by the Japanese government as having been abducted, there may have been hundreds of victims.