Shigeo Iizuka, the chairman of the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea is in Geneva, holding an exhibition to educate the world regarding North Korea’s abductions. Although they maintain that either the abduction victims were returned or they died, North Korea is not forthcoming with any further details regarding this matter.
During the Cold War, North Korea had kidnapped thirteen Japanese citizens. These kidnappings took place in 1970s and 1980s to teach their spies about the Japanese language and culture. The youngest victim was Megumi Yokota, who was only 13 years old when she was kidnapped in 1977. Many feel that the actual number of abductions could well move into the hundred odd figures.
Moreover, the kidnappings are not just restricted to Japanese citizens. North Korea had kidnapped nationals from at least 11 other countries, including France, Italy and the United States. Their tussle with South Korea has led to many kidnappings from there too. As for Japan, North Korea says that it has handed over the remains of the dead victims. However, DNA testings reveal a different story. The point is, many abductions are still being carried out. Unfortunately concrete evidence is lacking, but the victim’s families are hopeful that under the new leadership some kind of closure will be possible.