• Kyodo


Kaoru Hasuike and his wife, Yukiko, two of the five Japanese abducted by North Korean agents in 1978 and currently back in Japan, visited his bedridden grandmother on Saturday.

The visit was the first since they registered their marriage in Japan, sources close to the family said.

Saturday’s visit was the second time that Hasuike, 45, has visited his 91-year-old grandmother, Kikui. He first went to the welfare facility where she lives on Oct. 18, shortly after he returned to his hometown of Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture.

The couple were abducted together in 1978 and got married in May 1980 in North Korea. They registered their marriage, as well as the births of their daughter and son, at the Kashiwazaki city office on Oct. 25. Their children remain in North Korea.

Hasuike’s father, Hidekazu, 75, accompanied the couple to the welfare facility where Kikui lives.

The sources said that when 46-year-old Yukiko was introduced, Kikui asked her to get on well with Hasuike and work things out as a couple. Yukiko responded by telling Kikui to stay healthy. The meeting lasted about 30 minutes, they said.

Before departing, the couple held Kikui’s hands and told her they will visit again and wished her good health.

At the time of Hasuike’s previous visit, the government had not yet decided to let the abductees permanently stay in Japan. Kikui reportedly asked — after Hasuike had conveyed his intention to return to North Korea — when her grandson would be able to visit again.

Hasuike and his older brother Toru, 47, had apparently been close to their grandmother because she took care of them when they were little as their parents both worked. Kikui had reportedly been particularly fond of the younger boy.

The Hasuikes are among five Japanese who returned from North Korea on Oct. 15, their first visits in 24 years.

The five — abducted in three separate incidents in 1978 — were expected to return to North Korea, but the Japanese government later decided it would not allow them to return to Pyongyang.

Tokyo is in discussions with Pyongyang to bring the Hasuike’s two children to Japan.

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