They have been told that their daughter committed suicide years before, but the parents of Megumi Yokota, who was abducted by North Koreans in 1977, refuse to believe this. They formed an association, together with family members of other abductees and now they have gathered 10 million signatures to petition the Japanese government to rescue the abductees.
The group also said they received 356,192 signatures from Saitama Gov Kiyoshi Ueda to help bring their numbers to 10 million. They are planning to hand over the petition in person to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a public gathering on Saturday. The North Korean government has admitted to kidnapping Yokota 20 years after she was reported missing. Her parents refused to believe the news of her death, especially after a North Korean defector disputed these reports in 2011. DNA tests on her supposed remains also remain inconclusive, which her parents see as proof that she is still alive. Yokota is just one of at least 17 confirmed citizens abducted by Pyongyang in the late 70s and early 80s. North Korea has admitted to 13 of these kidnappings and the purpose was to teach their spies the Japanese language and culture
Last month, after a long push by the Japanese government and the European Union, the United Nations Human Rights Council finally launched an official probe into human rights violations by North Korea, including these abductions. The commission of inquiry will spend a year investigating all the human rights allegations against the reclusive country. The EU said they are not taking this lightly and will work on holding North Korea accountable should the imputations be proven true.
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