• Kyodo


The eldest brother of Yaeko Taguchi, one of the Japanese abducted to North Korea who according to Pyongyang died in the Stalinist state, plans to meet Friday with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, the family said Wednesday.

It will be the first time Taguchi’s relatives have gone public. So far they have avoided doing so because of complicated emotions surrounding the case.

The brother is expected to join the relatives of other Japanese abducted to North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s in their meeting with Koizumi, the first since his trip to Pyongyang last week.

The wife of Taguchi’s other brother said the family planned to have the eldest brother take part in the meeting because “we want to convey our feelings properly.”

Taguchi’s relatives have asked that their names not be revealed.

Taguchi, a Tokyo club hostess and native of Saitama Prefecture, is believed to have been the Japanese-language instructor of a North Korean agent , Kim Hyon Hui, who was convicted of the 1987 bombing of a Korean Air jetliner.

Kim Hyon Hui identified the Japanese woman from police pictures and said she had been living in the North under the name Ri Un Hye, according to police.

In May 1991, the National Police Agency and Saitama Prefectural Police said they were certain Taguchi is Ri, and since then, Taguchi’s family has experienced harassment, including letters saying they should apologize to the Japanese people about the bombing. Kim Hyon Hui and a male companion, both posing as Japanese, planted the bomb on the jet before disembarking in the Middle East. When confronted by police, they both took poison, and the man died.

In the Sept. 17 summit between Koizumi and Kim Jong Il, North Korea informed Japan that Taguchi died July 30, 1986, a little over a year before the jetliner was blown out of the sky.

Taguchi, a divorced mother, was working at a bar in Tokyo under the name of Chitose when she disappeared in June 1978 at the age of 22, probably from Tokyo during a week when her two small children were staying at a day-care center.

Taguchi was one of 11 Japanese on Tokyo’s list of those it said had been snatched by North Korea between 1977 and 1983, and was listed as one of the 13 abductees on a list North Korea provided in the summit.

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