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Parents of Japanese woman abducted by North Korea meet their granddaughter for first time

 

Shigeru Yokota (L) looks on as his wife Sakie (R) answers questions during a press conference in Kawasaki, a suburb of Tokyo, on March 17, 2014.  The ageing parents of their daughter Megumi, who was kidnapped in 1977 by North Korean agents and taken to North Korea as a schoolgirl and allegedly died there, met with Megumi's daughter Kim Eun-Gyong for the first time and spent five days last week in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator.

Shigeru Yokota (L) looks on as his wife Sakie (R) answers questions during a press conference in Kawasaki, a suburb of Tokyo, on March 17, 2014. The ageing parents of their daughter Megumi, who was kidnapped in 1977 by North Korean agents and taken to North Korea as a schoolgirl and allegedly died there, met with Megumi’s daughter Kim Eun-Gyong for the first time and spent five days last week in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator.

TOKYO – The parents of a Japanese woman abducted by North Korea in 1977 were allowed to see their North Korean-born granddaughter for the first time last week at a secret meeting in Mongolia, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday.

The meeting in the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator, between the parents of Megumi Yokota, who disappeared in Japan on her way home from school when she was 13, and her daughter, Kim Eun-gyong, now 26, according to Japanese news media, appeared to be a goodwill gesture by North Korea toward Japan.

Yokota, who died in 1994, according to North Korea, has been the subject of foreign and Japanese documentary films and also manga comics, making her perhaps the best-known of more than a dozen Japanese citizens known to have been kidnapped by North Korean agents in the 1970s and ’80s.

The ministry said her parents, Shigeru and Sakie Yokota, 81 and 78, met Kim for several days last week, though it provided few details. Yokota’s former husband, Kim Young-nam, a South Korean who was also kidnapped by the North, may have also been present, according to Japan’s Kyodo News Agency.

The Asahi Shimbun, a major Japanese newspaper, quoted unnamed government officials as saying that Kim’s young child – the Yokotas’ great-grandchild – was also present. The age and sex of the child were not provided.

Japanese news media said the meeting was agreed upon during informal talks between Japanese and North Korean officials this month in Shenyang, China. Those talks, on the sidelines of a meeting of the two nations’ Red Cross societies, were aimed at restarting an official dialogue between the two estranged nations, which was frozen after North Korea launched a large rocket over Japan in December 2012.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan has reached out to North Korea, sending a top aide to Pyongyang, the North’s capital, last year in an effort to resolve lingering questions over the fate of the abductees. A breakthrough on this issue could open the way for the resumption of talks toward normalizing relations. Those talks were disrupted a decade ago, when North Korea first admitted to Junichiro Koizumi, then Japan’s prime minister and Abe’s political mentor, that it had kidnapped 13 Japanese citizens.

 

AP Photo/Kyodo News, File

Kim Un Kyong, who’s Japanese mother Megumi Yokota was adducted by North Korea in 1977, is moved to tears while speaking about her Japanese grandparents, Shigeru and Sakie Yokota, during a press conference at a hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea. Japan’s Foreign Ministry confirmed Sunday, March 16, 2014, that Shigeru Yokota and his wife Sakie spent spent time with their Korean-born granddaughter Kim, for the first time over several days last week in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Kim is 26 years old, Japanese media said.

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Parents of Japanese woman abducted by North Korea meet their granddaughter for first time

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Fresh Off The Boat with Eddie Huang: Mongolia – Part 2

 

Eddie Huang continues his food-fueled expedition through Mongolia for VICE‘s Fresh Off The Boat with Eddie Huang with a new episode. This installment finds Huang in some (culturally and locationally) foreign spots, including visuals from Ulan Bator meat markets that are pungent enough to taste. Elsewhere, our hero finds himself at a giant outdoor metal music festival, as well in one of Mongolia’s first modern restaurant making traditional khorkhog. Enjoy a tour through Eddie Huang’s exploits in the Mongolian capital.

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Fresh Off The Boat with Eddie Huang: Mongolia – Part 2

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Mongolian teen aces an MIT online course, then gets into MIT

When he was 15 years old, Battushig Myanganbayar of Ulan Bator, Mongolia got a perfect score in the MIT Circuits and Electronics course he took through edX, the online education platform MIT co-founded with Harvard. Battushig had some help from his school principal, the first-ever Mongolian MIT grad. Enkhmunkh Zurgaanjin, who graduated in 2009, encouraged his students to watch the course lectures online and asked a former classmate to bring equipment to Mongolia for several months and conduct labs to go alongside the coursework.

Because the class was not approved by the ministry of education, students had to take it in addition to their regular courses. Battushig persuaded his parents to upgrade the Internet speed at their home from 1 megabit per second to 3 (the average in the United States is 8.6) to make it easier to watch the lectures.

Battushig was one of 20 students, ranging in age from 13 to 17, to enroll in the class. About half dropped out. The course is difficult in any setting—M.I.T. sophomores often pull all-nighters—and the Mongolian students were taking it in a second language […] To help his classmates, [Battushig] made videos in Mongolian that offered pointers and explanations of difficult concepts and posted them on YouTube.

Stuart Schmill, the dean of admissions, said Battushig’s perfect score proved that he could handle the work.

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Mongolian teen aces an MIT online course, then gets into MIT

Battushig Myanganbayar