Taguchi tutored KAL bomber, abductee’s families say

Recent testimony by a repatriated Japanese abductee supports allegations that fellow abductee Yaeko Taguchi was the language tutor for a confessed North Korean agent who blew a Korean Air jetliner out of the sky in 1987, families of abduction victims said Thursday.

Taguchi is one of the eight Japanese who North Korea says died after being abducted to the country in the 1970s and 1980s.

Taguchi, then 22, disappeared from a beach in Miyazaki Prefecture in 1978. The North has told Japan she died in July 1986.

Japanese and South Korean investigative authorities have concluded that Taguchi is Li Un Hye, the woman who tutored Kim Hyon Hui, the North Korean agent who has confessed to blowing up the KAL jetliner in 1987.

North Korea has consistently denied Taguchi played such a role.

But a testimony made in June by Fukie Chimura, one of five Japanese who were sent back to Japan in 2002 after being kidnapped in 1978, supports the Japanese police allegation, according to the relatives of the abductees.

Chimura reportedly told Taguchi’s 66-year-old brother, Shigeo Iizuka, that Taguchi was teaching Japanese to a North Korean agent whose given name was Ok Hwa.

As an agent, Kim Hyon Hui reportedly went by the false name Kim Ok Hwa, the relatives said.

Chimura told Japanese authorities earlier that she lived with Taguchi for about a year after they were abducted in 1978.