OBAMA, Fukui Pref. – Tamotsu Chimura, the father of one of the five people back in Japan after being abducted to North Korea, said Tuesday he wants to travel to Pyongyang to see his son’s kids.
“I want to visit North Korea if I can meet the three grandchildren,” Chimura, 75, told a news conference at his home in Obama, Fukui Prefecture, citing as one of the conditions that Japanese government officials accompany him.
But he believes North Korea is unlikely to allow him to meet with his grandchildren. “I therefore think a visit to North Korea is probably impossible,” he said.
Chimura’s son, Yasushi, was abducted with his then girlfriend Fukie from Obama by North Korean agents in 1978. The couple, both 47, married in North Korea and have three children: a 21-year-old daughter and two sons aged 19 and 15.
The children stayed behind in Pyongyang when their parents and three other abductees — Kaoru and Yukiko Hasuike and Hitomi Soga of Niigata Prefecture — returned to Japan on Oct. 15 for their first homecoming since their abductions.
The elder Chimura, who has repeatedly expressed disappointment that his grandchildren could not come along, said if he were to make the trip he would represent a national association of families of Japanese abductees to which he belongs.
He said he has been consulting about the trip with Hidekazu Hasuike, Kaoru’s father, and Shigeru Yokota, the head of the association. Yokota’s daughter Megumi was abducted to North Korea in 1977 when she was 13 and is reported by Pyongyang as having died there. Chimura said he wants to visit Pyongyang along with other members of the association if North Korea also agrees to allow them to meet with the man said to be Megumi’s husband and Soga’s American husband Charles Robert Jenkins.
The plan will be discussed during the association’s meeting scheduled for later this month, Chimura said.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.