중앙데일리

Japanese abductee still alive, her mother says

Apr 28,2006

Sakie Yokota and her son, Takuya Yokota, hold photos of Japanese kidnap victim Megumi Yokota in Washington on Thursday. [AP]

WASHINGTON ― Shedding tears, Sakie Yokota, 70, mother of Japanese abductee Megumi Yokota, told a panel of American lawmakers on Thursday that her daughter is still alive in North Korea.
Pyongyang has said Ms. Yokota committed suicide in 1994.
But Sakie Yokota appeared at a hearing of a panel at the U.S. House of Representatives and pleaded for action to bring her daughter back home.
“A quarter of a century has elapsed since [the kidnapping]. We, as well as the parents of other abductees, are running out of time because of our advancing age. My daughter Megumi and other abductees must be alive somewhere in North Korea,” said the mother in a written statement.
She also repeated what Japan had told South Korea earlier this month ― that the man Ms. Yokota had married was almost certainly a South Korean who was also kidnapped and taken to the North in the 1970s.
Seoul is currently in the process of verifying Tokyo’s findings, but government officials have said there is little chance those findings will be overturned.
Sakie Yokota urged the panel to impose economic sanctions on the North.
“I plead for all countries to join us in saying that we will not forgive the abductions, all the victims must be returned immediately or we will initiate economic sanctions,” she said in the statement.
Meanwhile, a U.S. official said yesterday that President George W. Bush was expected to meet on Friday night with the family of North Korean defector Kim Han-mi, 7 representatives of South Korean civic groups, and Jeong Song-san, director of “Yoduk Story,” a musical on life in a North Korean prison camp, in order to hear about human rights violations in the North.


by Kang Chan-ho, Brian Lee


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