Hiroshi Nakai, former abduction minister, believes that at least three or four more Japanese abductees are sure to be alive. This number of living abductees by North Korea is in addition to 12 others known by the Japanese government. Pyongyang has been suspected of kidnappings even in the 70s although it was only in 2002 when the North admitted of abducting 13 individuals. Still, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe believes that the issue will be resolved under the current North Korean administration.
Although the names of the abductees have not been revealed, Nakai said that the information was obtained through Japan’s further investigation regarding the issue, among others, between Japan and North Korea. The former minister revealed that he spoke with Song Il-Ho, ambassador for normalization talks with Japan, since September 2010. Nakai said that their four-time discussions took place in China and Singapore. He also said that according to Song, there were more than 200 female survivors during the 1959 to 1984 repatriation program. These Japanese women then moved to North Korea with their Korean spouses.
The number of abductees in the 70s and the 80s had been 17, according to Japan’s official list. Five of them were repatriated in 2002. Although Pyongyang claims that the abduction issue has been resolved, it still mars the Japan-North Korea relationship.
[via Global Post]