RETURN TO PYONGYANG

Terakoshi bids farewell at airport

Kyodo

Takeshi Terakoshi, the Japanese national who went missing while fishing in the Sea of Japan in the early 1960s and has since lived in North Korea, left Narita airport Saturday afternoon for North Korea after his first visit to Japan in 39 years.

Terakoshi, 53, who disappeared in the Sea of Japan 39 years ago as a boy and is now a resident of Pyongyang, bid farewell in Japanese, saying, “Mother, take care,” to his 71-year-old mother, Tomoe, who saw him off. Tomoe lives in Kanazawa.

Terakoshi arrived at Narita airport near Tokyo around 1:40 p.m. He smiled and waved to his mother after passing the departure gate. He is to return to North Korea via Beijing.

Terakoshi arrived in Japan on Oct. 3 as a member of a North Korean union delegation. He is a vice chairman of a labor union in Pyongyang.

Terakoshi has said he and his two uncles were rescued by North Korean fishermen when the fishing boat they were aboard was wrecked in the Sea of Japan in May 1963. He later obtained North Korean citizenship.

Tomoe has regularly visited him — 15 times — in Pyongyang since her first trip there in August 1987.

Terakoshi’s parents learned their son was alive in January 1987 from a letter they received from one of his uncles in North Korea. They visited him in Pyongyang in September the same year, seeing him for the first time in 24 years.