Megumi Yokota's father believes Japan should follow the example of the Lebanese government, which in 1979 repatriated its citizens who had been abducted to North Korea, after tough, behind-the-scenes negotiations with the communist government.

"In the case of the Lebanese abductees, the victims' families appealed to the public and the government responded," said Shigeru Yokota, whose daughter, the Japanese government believes, was abducted by North Korean agents about 20 years ago. "We, too, are making strong appeals. Why can't our government take some action?"

A woman, who asked not be named, told the Tokyo-based Nihon Denpa News recently that she and three other Lebanese women were deceived by North Korean agents and taken to Pyongyang in August 1978.