The government on Thursday released the names of 15 Japanese women living
in North Korea who next month will be allowed to visit their homeland for
the first time in roughly four decades.
The visit, a significant development for the two nations considering they
have no diplomatic relations, will last from Nov. 8 to 14, Chief Cabinet
Secretary Kanezo Muraoka said. “The government welcomes the realization of
the homecoming visit that has been a long-standing issue between Japan and
North Korea,” Muraoka said. “The government would like to receive the
women warmly and hopes that they will have a happy and meaningful time
during their stay.”
The women will probably stay in their hometowns for a few days, and the
Japanese Red Cross Society, which has cooperated with its North Korean
counterpart to coordinate the visit, will hold welcome and farewell
receptions, Muraoka said. A detailed itinerary for each of the women, who
are between 55 and 84, is currently being drafted by the Japanese Red Cross
Society in consultation with their relatives, according to Muraoka.
Of the 15, 13 married North Koreans while living in Japan and accompanied
their husbands to the Stalinist state in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
The other two went to North Korea before and around World War ll, Muraoka
The list uses the Korean names of all the women and their current
addresses in North Korea. However, to protect privacy and at the request of
the women and their relatives, the Japanese names of seven of the 15 are
being withheld. Of them, the ages of three women are also not being made
The list includes the locality of the women’s family registers: Two are
from Hokkaido, two from Fukushima, three from Tokyo, and one each from
Chiba, Niigata, Nagano, Kyoto, Tokushima, Kochi and Kumamoto prefectures.
This information was withheld for one of the women.
According to government sources, a woman listed as Kim Cho Mi, 61, is
Toyoko Uda from Tokyo. The women will come to Japan via Beijing,
accompanied by four members of the North Korean Red Cross Society and a
North Korean relative of the 84-year-old visitor, Muraoka said.