Photo exhibit on abductee Megumi Yokota opens

Kyodo

A photo exhibition on Megumi Yokota, who has become a symbol of Japanese people abducted by North Korea, opened Monday in Kawasaki to draw attention to the issue.

Yokota was abducted to North Korea 1977 when she was a 13-year-old student in junior high school.

The four-day exhibition at a public office in Asao Ward features around 40 photos showing Yokota’s 13 years with her family. Some of the photos were taken by her parents, who now reside in Kawasaki.

The show includes pictures of the girl being embraced by her father when she was 5 months old, smiling during a sports event at her elementary school and enjoying a school trip to Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Officials in Kawasaki have organized the annual exhibition since 2007. While it was previously held in the fall, the city moved it forward this year following the resumption of negotiations between Japan and North Korea on the abduction issue.

The photos were provided by a group of neighborhood supporters of Yokota’s parents, Sakie, 78, and Shigeru, 81.

“By letting many people know about the issue through the exhibition, we can support the Japanese government and apply pressure on North Korea” to help settle the abduction issue, said Satomi Mori, a 52-year-old member of the group.

Michiyo Watanabe, 63, said while viewing the exhibition that she hopes Yokota “will come back alive and lead a happy life in Japan.”

The exhibition will also be held at an office in Miyamae Ward in Kawasaki from Aug. 4 to Aug. 8.