Megumi Yokota was only 13 when she was kidnapped by North Korean agents in 1977 and she became the symbol of the abducted Japanese nationals. Now, 37 years later, her parents have finally their granddaughter, although the fate of Megumi is still unclear at this point, despite Pyongyang claiming she has already passed away.
This groundbreaking meeting earlier this month between Shigeru and Sakie Yokota and their 26-year-old granddaughter Kim Eun Gyong was confirmed by the Japanese Foreign Ministry on Sunday. The young woman, also known as Hye Gyong, is the daughter of Yokota and her husband Kim Young Nam, a South Korean citizen who was also kidnapped by Pyongyang. This meeting may be the first step towards the resumption of the stalled official intergovernmental talks between Japan and North Korea over the abudction issue. The two countries agreed to the Yokota’s meeting with their granddaughter during informal talks in Shenyang, China earlier this month which was on the sidelines of the Red Cross societies’ meetings.
Sakie refused to comment at this time over what transpired during the meeting, asking the media to let them “rest calmly” first. It is believed that Kim Young Nam was also present and may have provided more information about Megumi’s fate. The North Korean government claimed back in 2002, when they admitted to the abductions, that Megumi had already passed away, having committed suicide back in 1994. They sent over what they claim to be the cremated remains of Megumi in 2004, but DNA tests showed that it was not her. Since then, Pyongyang has not provided any hard evidence to prove that their story is true.
The Red Cross societies will once again be meeting on Wednesday and government officials from both countries will be participating. Japan is expected to send again Keiichi Ono, director of the Northeast Asia Division of the Foreign Ministry to meet with his North Korean counterpart. Japan’s Foreign Ministry is expecting that this meeting will pave the way for the formal talks to be restarted to settle this abduction issue and finally resume diplomatic relations with North Korea.
[ via Mainichi ]