Soga restates wish to meet family in North Korea

Kyodo

Hitomi Soga, one of five Japanese abducted to North Korea in 1978 and now in Japan on a homecoming visit, restated on Monday her wish to meet her husband and two daughters in North Korea as soon as possible to discuss the family’s settlement in Japan.

“Without further delay, I want to meet my husband and children and spend time discussing it with them,” Soga, 43, told a news conference. “I hope we will be allowed to meet soon.”

Regarding her mother, Miyoshi, who was abducted with her from their hometown in Niigata Prefecture’s Sado Island 24 years ago and is still missing, Soga said, “For me, this is the matter I worry about most. Someone please tell me what has happened.”

She also commented on Megumi Yokota, who was abducted from Niigata in 1977 at the age of 13 and was on a North Korean list of abductees who had died.

“We have not met since we parted in the spring of 1980,” Soga said, “and I do not know anything beyond that. As a friend, I pray from my heart that she is still alive.”

Soga has said she first met Yokota in Pyongyang in August 1978 and lived with her on several occasions.

TV exec slams interview

The top official of a national broadcasting association Monday accused news organizations of serving Pyongyang’s propaganda aims by airing an interview with the North Korean daughter of a Japanese abducted to the North in 1977.

Seiichiro Ujiie, chairman of the National Association of Commercial Broadcasters in Japan, told a news conference that broadcasting the interview with 15-year-old Kim Hye Gyong, the daughter of Megumi Yokota, is “part of North Korean propaganda, and I feel anger over the use of a teenager.”

The interview was aired by Fuji Television Network Inc. on Friday evening.

Ujiie, also president of Nippon Television Network Corp. (NTV), further said, “The Japanese news media that asked for the interview were also wrong.”

Ujiie said North Korea is not a country that allows people to speak freely, so it is absolutely impossible to learn the truth through interviews conducted there.

“Worse still, (interviewing) teenagers is out of the question. If it had been NTV, we would have rejected it,” he said.