North Korea stays silent on homecoming

North Korea has told its people that it abducted at least a dozen Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s but is keeping quiet about the homecoming for the surviving abductees.

None of the organizations in the state media apparatus, including the Korean Central News Agency, has mentioned Tuesday’s return of the five Japanese, who were reunited with their families for the first time since they were kidnapped to North Korea in 1978.

The survivors — Yasushi Chimura, Fukie Hamamoto, Kaoru Hasuike, Yukiko Okudo and Hitomi Soga — were to head to their respective hometowns on Thursday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il admitted in a historic summit with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Sept. 17 that Pyongyang had abducted Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s.

Kim apologized for the kidnappings and promised that such incidents would never happen again.