Yokota’s daughter shows up at airport

Hae Gyong, the 15-year-old daughter of abductee Megumi Yokota, appeared at Pyongyang airport Tuesday hoping to catch a glimpse of her grandparents as the five surviving abductees boarded a jetliner for Tokyo, according to a Japanese government official who accompanied the abductees home.

Kim’s story is part of a tear-jerking tale told by North Korea in describing Yokota’s death.

Yokota, abducted 1977 at the age of 13, is said to have hanged herself in a mental hospital after falling into a severe state of depression in 1993.

There is little known about Kim’s father other than he is North Korean.

At Pyongyang’s airport, abductee Hitomi Soga, who temporarily lived with Yokota in North Korea, walked up to Kim, hugged her and spoke quietly with her; both were sobbing, said Akitaka Saiki, deputy director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau.

The government asked North Korea to let Kim visit Japan and even asked Kim in person if she wanted to come. Saiki quoted Kim as saying that although she wants to meet her grandparents, she remains hesitant about making a quick visit or a long stay due to schoolwork.

Kim said she came to Pyongyang’s airport in the hope of meeting her grandparents, Saiki told reporters in Tokyo.

While there is no proof Kim is Yokota’s daughter, the government has almost completed DNA and other tests to confirm her parentage, Saiki said.

“We are waiting for the final outcome of the tests, but we have almost concluded that Kim is Megumi Yokota’s daughter,” Saiki said.

In a new revelation, the four other survivors revealed that they knew Megumi Yokota by her Korean name and had known the girl since she was 3 or 4 years old, according to Saiki.

Soga’s husband, former U.S. soldier Charles Robert Jenkins, also came to the airport, as did the couple’s two daughters.

Saiki said he asked Jenkins whether he wanted to come to Japan with Soga, but Jenkins replied that an immediate visit is “not easy.”

Jenkins added that he once lived in Japan in the 1960s while stationed at the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Aboard the plane, the five seemed nervous but excited when they were handed letters from their relatives. Although they enjoyed the Japanese-style lunch served on the plane, they couldn’t eat very much because they were so filled with emotion, Saiki said.