OBAMA, Fukui Pref. – A Japanese man who returned to his homeland last week after a 24-year absence indicated Saturday that he hopes to visit Japan again after going back to North Korea.
Yasushi Chimura, one of five Japanese visiting the country for the first time since being abducted by North Korean agents in 1978, is said to have expressed his hopes to his father.
According to Tamotsu Chimura, his son revealed a desire to return when Tamotsu said, partly in jest, “Perhaps this will be the last time for you to see me.”
Chimura reportedly responded, “It won’t be. Soon I will be able to return (to Japan).” On Friday, Chimura told his father that he would return to North Korea on Oct. 28.
Chimura said he has not discussed whether his son might return to Japan on a permanent basis, saying he is waiting for his son to broach the topic.
Tamotsu, 75, said he wants to confirm his son’s hopes before Chimura leaves for Tokyo on his way back to North Korea.
According to his father, Chimura did not wear a badge depicting late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung when he and old friends talked Friday night at Chimura’s home in Obama, Fukui Prefecture. The abductees have been wearing the badges during their visit to Japan.
Chimura said he has to wear the badge while in North Korea, but he agreed to take it off when Tamotsu told him could because he was back in Japan, according to the father.
Meanwhile, Kaoru Hasuike said he would submit documents to Japanese authorities during the visit officially registering Yukiko Okudo as his wife.
Hasuike was in his hometown of Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture.
“Yukiko Okudo will become Yukiko Hasuike,” Hasuike told reporters. The two were married in North Korea after being kidnapped and taken to Pyongyang in 1978.
Hasuike also denied that North Korean authorities had prevented the couple from bringing their children to Japan.
“I did not leave the children behind because I was forced to. I was unable to because our children do not even know that we are Japanese,” he said. “I will tell them that in the future, but not while they are in their adolescent years.”
Mother retains hope
KOBE (Kyodo) The mother of Keiko Arimoto, one of the eight Japanese that Pyongyang claims died after being kidnapped and taken to North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s, said Saturday that she is “convinced” her daughter is still alive.
Kayoko Arimoto and supporters of the families of the abductees took to the streets of Kobe to ask for public support for their campaigns to seek the return of all the abductees.
Keiko Arimoto was kidnapped while in Europe studying in 1983. North Korea said last month that she died in 1988.
Families of the abductees reported to be dead have expressed doubts over North Korea’s accounts of the deaths.
Kayoko Arimoto said she was convinced her daughter is still alive when she met last week with the five surviving abductees who are on a homecoming visit to Japan.
“I want the Japanese government to hold talks with North Korea on the assumption that (the eight abductees) are still alive,” Arimoto said.