The National Police Agency said Tuesday that the number of missing people who may have been abducted by North Korea and whose disappearances are under investigation has increased by 23 to 883.
The number of people nationwide who consulted with police has risen rapidly since Japan and North Korea agreed in late May that Pyongyang would investigate the fate of abduction victims, prompting the NPA to conduct a further probe, officials said.
“As the negotiations (between Japan and North Korea) saw progress, public interest in the abduction issue has heightened,” National Public Safety Commission Chairman Keiji Furuya said during a news conference.
The NPA said it has collected DNA samples from relatives of 643 missing people, accounting for about 70 percent of the agency’s updated list of potential abduction victims, to prepare for Pyongyang’s investigation.
The government has urged North Korea to release promptly the results on the whereabouts of missing Japanese who are highly likely to have been abducted by Pyongyang.
Furuya also serves as state minister in charge of the abduction issue.