A group that believes North Korea has abducted more Japanese nationals than it has admitted is calling on the Japanese government to bring them home.
“To resolve the abduction issue, it is essential for Japan to clearly indicate its intention to get back the nationals who have been seized by the autocratic state and to implement that intention,” said Kazuhiro Araki, head of the Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese Probably Related to North Korea (COMJAN).
“If Japan continues its current way of seeking the return of (all abducted Japanese) through negotiations, a great majority of the abduction victims will have to end their lives in North Korea,” Araki said Thursday.
COMJAN has a list of of more than 360 missing Japanese for whom abduction to North Korea cannot be ruled out, Araki said. It it is “highly likely” that six people on the list were forcibly taken to North Korea, he said.
The six include Masayuki Oyashiki, who went missing from Shizuoka Prefecture in 1969 at age 16; Takashi Osawa, who disappeared from Niigata Prefecture’s Sado Island in 1974 at 27; and Tomiko Kunihiro, unaccounted for since last being seen in Yamaguchi Prefecture in 1976, when she was 24.
The others are Akira Araki, who disappeared from Saitama Prefecture in 1977 at 29; Miho Yamamoto, who went missing from Yamanashi Prefecture in 1984 at age 20; and Miwa Akita, who vanished from Kobe in 1985 at age 21. They join six others who were earlier declared by the group as being highly likely to have been abducted to North Korea.
The group meanwhile revealed the names and photos of 15 new additions to the general list of missing people. These 15 people disappeared between 1956 and 2001, bringing the total number of those whose identities have been made public to 182.
Of these missing people thought to have been abducted to North Korea, two turned up in Japan.
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