• Kyodo


Yasushi Chimura, one of the five people abducted to North Korea in 1978 and now back in Japan, will begin working as a contract employee at the city office in April, Obama municipal officials said Tuesday.

Chimura and his wife, Fukie, also a returnee, visited the city office together Tuesday to offer New Year’s greetings and ask for jobs. Obama Mayor Toshio Murakami offered a job to Yasushi.

“I asked for a job at the city government office,” Chimura told a news conference after meeting with Murakami. Chimura visited City Hall accompanied by his father, Tamotsu, and Kinichi Ikeda, head of the Fukui chapter of a national group supporting the abductees and their families.

“I want to know about life in my hometown, so I am looking for a type of job in which I can rush around and do my best,” Chimura said.

But the officials admitted they have not yet determined what kind of job Chimura will be given.

Murakami mentioned the possibility of Fukie Chimura working at the Fukui Prefectural Government office.

“I want to work so I can learn about Japanese society,” she said.

However, Yasushi has told her he does not want her to work, preferring that she be a housewife.

“I will convince him that I can do housework even while working,” she said.

The couple will receive computer lessons beginning in February.

Murakami said he will consult with the national government and local governments to which other abduction victims have returned to determine how much to pay the Chimuras.

Late last year, Yasushi told a news conference that he wanted to support himself so he would not have to depend totally on government financial assistance for returned abductees that began this month.

The Chimuras arrived in Japan on Oct. 15 together with three other abductees on what was supposed to be a two-week visit. They did not return and Japan decided to ask North Korea to send their families to Japan.

Returnee Kaoru Hasuike has found a job teaching a Korean-language class in his hometown of Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture. He begins work Thursday. Hasuike and his ex-abductee wife, Yukiko, are expected to begin working at the Kashiwazaki municipal office around February.

Meanwhile, in the town of Mano on Sado Island in Niigata Prefecture, Hitomi Soga, the fifth abductee, visited the town office to discuss how she can earn a living. She decided to attend a training session for home helpers beginning Jan. 26, town officials said.

Soga, who was 19 when she was kidnapped to North Korea, was a practical nurse and has basic knowledge. It is unclear whether she will actually become a home helper, the officials said.

She also indicated that she wants to take driving lessons.

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