Kawasaki Mayor Takao Abe announced during a regular press conference yesterday that the city has decided to stop financial subsidy grants to Pro-Pyongyang schools. Instead, it will provide them with books written by the parents of a girl abducted by North Korea. The city will use some 3 million yen (approx. $32,000) to purchase books, including those authored by Shigeru Yokota, 80, and his wife Sakie, 77, who are parents of Megumi, who was abducted in 1977 by North Korean spies when she was just 13 years old.
According to Abe, the reason for this move is because they are protesting the nuclear test conducted earlier in the month, and they want students at North Korean schools to take part in a campaign to save abductees. Abe also said that the city will allocate about 8.4 million yen ($90,000) of the city’s budget for fiscal 2013 for subsidies to the schools, but stopped short of saying whether it will resume the financial assistance. “Discontinuing support for education as a whole seems extreme,” he said, referring to local governments that decided not to subsidize pro-Pyongyang schools at all for fiscal 2013.
In the meantime, the mother of the abducted Megumi, Sakie Yokota, has mixed feelings over the decision of the municipal government. “Children at North Korean schools are not to blame but those schools are said to be a local agency of North Korea,” she said. “We can’t decide whether the city’s decision is right or not.”