중앙데일리

Japanese and Korean parents cry over children’s abductions

May 16,2006

Choi Gye-wol, left, the mother of South Korean abductee Kim Yong-nam, wiping away tears yesterday as she talked to Shigeru Yokota, right, the father of Japanese abductee Megumi Yokota, who is believed to have married Mr. Kim in North Korea. By Kim Tae-sung

South Korean and Japanese relatives of people kidnapped by North Korea met yesterday in Seoul to urge both their governments to step up efforts to bring about the release of the abductees.
Shigeru Yokota, 73, the father of Japanese abductee Megumi Yokota, met with Choi Gye-wol, 82, the mother of South Korean abductee Kim Yong-nam, who is believed to be the husband of Ms. Yokota. Mr. Yokota also visited several civic groups’ offices yesterday. He met with Ms. Choi at the office of the Abductee Family Assembly and invited her and other family members to a protest rally in Japan planned for the end of next month.
After the meeting, Japanese civic group members who had accompanied Mr. Yokota held a joint protest with South Korean civic groups, condemning the North’s action and asking for the unconditional release of abductees. Civic group officials also vowed to form an international alliance to exert more pressure on the North.
Last month, Tokyo provided DNA evidence to Seoul that the husband of Ms. Yokota, who Pyongyang claims has died in North Korea, was almost certainly Mr. Kim, who was also kidnapped and taken to the North in the ’70s. Seoul is in the process of verifying the DNA data provided by Tokyo in what officials here have said is just a formality, as no one expects the test results from Japan to be proved wrong.
The head of the National Intelligence Service told the National Assembly last month that four South Koreans abducted about the same time as Kim Yong-nam were still alive in the North.
While visiting Seoul on Monday, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the North Korean authorities to address the issue and release all the abductees or at least provide information on their whereabouts.


by Brian Lee


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