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.
Check out this link: