The parents of Megumi Yokota, who has become to the Japanese public the representation of the unresolved issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea, have apparently been invited to visit the hermit country in May. There has been movement in the case of Megumi Yokota – whom Pyongyang admitted abducting but claim to have committed suicide – as the parents were reunited with their granddaughter Kim Eun Gyong, daughter of Megumi early March in Mongolia.
Shigeru and Sakie Yokota told a meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers that the North had made the invitation when they met their granddaughter, the daughter of Megumi to a South Korean man and fellow abductee Kim Young Nam, for the first time in Mongolia a few weeks ago. The meeting was in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator, and Eun Gyong also brought her baby – the Yokota’s great-granddaughter – with her. It was then that the North Korean officials extended the invitation. According to them, a child’s first birthday was a big deal in North Korea, but the Yokotas had refused the offer at that time. “It will be hard to immediately visit North Korea but someday in the future, we could go to North Korea or invite Eun Gyong to come to Japan,” Shigeru Yokota said.
Shigeru and his 78-year-old wife have long been very visible in the continued efforts to get North Korea to allow all abductees to return home, including their daughter Megumi, abducted in 1977 at age 13. Pyongyang had already admitted in 2002 to having abducted 13 Japanese to North Korea – including Megumi. But they also said that she committed suicide in 1994 after giving birth to Kim Eun Gyong. In 2004, North Korea handed over evidence to Japan of Megumi’s death, claiming that those were her cremated remains. Subsequent DNA testing in Japan proved that the remains were of somebody else. And so the Yokotas are not giving up hope on their daughter yet.