Tokyo, Pyongyang have agreed on visit to Japan by Yokota kin: Seoul paper

Kyodo

North Korea and Japan have agreed that the daughter of Megumi Yokota, who was abducted by North Korean agents in 1977, will visit Japan in November, a Seoul newspaper reported Tuesday.

Citing Choi Song-ryong, head of a group called South Korean Families of Abducted and Detained in North Korea, the Dong-A Ilbo said the agreement was reached sometime before Yokota’s parents were allowed to meet secretly with their granddaughter for the first time in March in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

“North Korea has demanded that Kim Eun Gyong be allowed to freely visit Japan or North Korea while Japan wants her to return to Japan permanently,” Choi was quoted as saying.

Choi claimed he confirmed the information through a source in the Japanese government and also a source in North Korea, the newspaper said.

In Tokyo, Keiji Furuya, state minister in charge of North Korea’s abductions of Japanese nationals, immediately denied the report, saying “Japan has not decided on such a matter.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also said he “had not been informed (of such an agreement) at all.”

Shigeru Yokota, the 81-year-old father of the abduction victim, said that while he would welcome any visit, he has not been informed of such a plan and that the report is questionable.

The meeting between Yokota’s parents and Kim, now 26, was widely seen as a goodwill gesture by North Korea toward Japan.

Megumi Yokota went missing on her way home from school in 1977 when she was 13. Pyongyang admitted in 2002 to having abducted Japanese people to North Korea, including Yokota, who it says committed suicide in 1994 after giving birth to a daughter.