• Kyodo

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Yasushi Chimura, who was abducted by North Korea in 1978 and repatriated to Japan last year, served Saturday as a Japanese-Korean interpreter for the first time in a public event in Obama, Fukui Prefecture.

Working for his employer, Obama Mayor Toshio Murakami, the 48-year-old Chimura translated his address to around 90 participants in a gathering on Japan-Korea friendship.

South Korean Consul General in Nagoya Yu Ju Ryol attended the meeting and offered words of “apology” to Chimura for North Korea’s abduction of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.

“Although it was done by fellow Koreans, I apologize for what happened,” Yu said.

The event was held to celebrate the completion of a park to commemorate the rescue in January 1900 by Obama residents of 93 passengers and crew members of a Korean commercial ship that was wrecked off the city on its way back from Vladivostok. The park was built around a monument set up to mark the incident’s centennial.

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