• Kyodo

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Kaoru Hasuike, one of the five known surviving abductees who returned from North Korea last year, took another step toward reintegrating into Japanese society Monday when he began his new job at the Kashiwazaki city office.

“All this is new to me, and I know I will be lost at times. But I hope all of you can help me here,” Hasuike, 45, said at City Hall in front of Mayor Masazumi Saikawa and about 40 employees.

Hasuike made the remark after Saikawa handed him his appointment paper. Earlier in the day, he was briefed about paperwork details.

As a temporary worker, Hasuike will put in about three shifts a week until the end of March during a transitional period ahead of his full-time employment in April.

He is posted in the personnel division and the section to support citizen activities, where he will be in charge of compiling documents and the city’s public relations magazine.

Hasuike returned to Japan on Oct. 15 along with his wife, Yukiko, 46, and three other abductees — another couple, Yasushi and Fukie Chimura, both 47, and Hitomi Soga, 43.

The abductees’ children as well as Soga’s husband have not been allowed to leave North Korea.

Japan is demanding that North Korea hand over the North Korean-born children of the abductees and Soga’s American husband. But Pyongyang has refused, claiming Tokyo broke its promise to return the abductees after they came to Japan in October for their first homecoming in 24 years. Pyongyang had demanded that the five only visit Japan briefly.

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