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Clues Found in North Korean Kidnappings

Posted January. 07, 2006 03:00,   

Updated January. 01, 1970 09:00

한국어

The Japanese media reported yesterday that Megumi Yokota, the poster child for Japanese abductees to North Korea who was 13 years old when she was kidnapped in 1997, was abducted by Shin Gwang-su (76).

The report said that Hitomi Soga (46), another abductee who returned to Japan with her husband who deserted from the U.S. Armed Forces while stationed in Korea, revealed this to Yokota’s parents last November.

Reportedly, Soga lived in the same residential building in Pyongyang as Yokota in the late 1970s shortly after being abducted, and Shin was teaching Korean and ideology.

Arrested in South Korea on spying charges, Shin was sentenced to death, but was sent to the North in 2000 according to the agreement from the inter-Korean summit talks.

Pyongyang handed over Yokota’s remains to Japan, saying that after being kidnapped from Niigata in 1977, she got married in North Korea and killed herself. But with Japan refuting this, saying that a DNA test proved the remains were false, the Pyongayng-Tokyo relationship soured.

Meanwhile, Choi Sung-yong, chairman of Families of South Korean Abductees, said he requested the South Korean and Japanese governments to identify Yokota’s husband, adding that chances are that her husband could be a South Korean abductee.

Choi said, “There are high possibilities that Kim Chul-jun, Yokota’s husband, who is known to be living in Pyongyang, was one of the five South Korean high school students abducted to the North in 1977 and 1978,” adding, “On January 4, I asked Cheong Wa Dae, Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Japan’s Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Ministry to compare the DNA of Kim Hye-kyung, Yokota’s daughter, and the five abducted students.”



Won-Jae Park parkwj@donga.com