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Letters and other contacts have confirmed that at least 538 out of an estimated 1,800 Japanese women who moved to North Korea with their Korean husbands are still alive, data compiled by a civic group and made available July 25 indicate, as bilateral efforts continue to set the stage for allowing the women to visit Japan.

The group dispatches relief goods to the Japanese women. It said that as of last December, 538 of them were confirmed to be alive in North Korea through exchanges of letters and other communication with relatives.

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