Kaoru and Yukiko Hasuike, two of the five abductees repatriated from North Korea in 2002, arrived back in their hometown in Niigata Prefecture on Sunday along with their son and daughter with whom they were reunited the night before for the first time in 19 months.
During a news conference in Kashiwazaki, the 46-year-old Hasuike said his daughter, Pak Yong Hwa, 22, has the Japanese name Shigeyo, and that his son, Pak Ki Hyok, 19, is named Katsuya in Japanese.
He said he gave them their Japanese names when they were born in North Korea.
Another of the five former abductees, Hitomi Soga, 45, left Tokyo and arrived in her home on Sado Island in Niigata Prefecture in the afternoon, after she was unable to reunite with her American husband, Charles Robert Jenkins, 64, and their two daughters.
Jenkins and the daughters — Mika, 20, and Belinda, 18 — declined to come to Japan for the time being despite Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s attempts to persuade them during a meeting Saturday in Pyongyang.
“My dream has not come true, but I believe the day will soon come when I can live together with my family,” Soga said in a statement.
Yasushi and Fukie Chimura, the two other former abductees, and their three children — daughter O Kyong Ae, 22, and two sons, O Kyong Sok, 20, and O Kyong Ho, 16 — were reunited Saturday and are scheduled to leave for their home in Obama, Fukui Prefecture, on Monday.
Yasushi Chimura also said that his children have Japanese names, although he added he will wait to tell them the names until after they learn some Japanese.
Koizumi, who made a one-day trip to Pyongyang for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, brought the five children to Tokyo on Saturday night.
The five, all born in North Korea, had been separated from their parents since October 2002, when the five former abductees returned to Japan for the first time since being kidnapped by North Korea in three incidents in 1978.
According to Hasuike, his children were told by North Korean officials about a week ago to travel to Japan.
“They were told, ‘Go to Japan, where your parents live. You can come back if you want,’ ” Hasuike said in explaining the circumstances in which his children departed for Japan.
The son and the daughter are feeling sorry for their friends in Pyongyang because they had to leave abruptly, Hasuike said.
He said the children seemed to have known that their parents were Japanese abducted to North Korea. While in North Korea, the Hasuikes had Korean names.
“I never told them myself, but (the children) told me that they had been told (by North Korean officials) that I am a Japanese. It seems they know roughly how I am related to abduction incidents,” Hasuike said.
The Hasuikes traveled to Kashiwazaki on a bus from Tokyo. Hasuike said he asked his son during the tour if he wants to know about his father’s past.
“I want to know, but maybe later,” Hasuike quoted the son as saying.
In a news conference in Tokyo earlier in the day, Toru Hasuike, 49, the elder brother of Kaoru Hasuike, said his younger brother’s family slept together in one room, putting two beds next to each other.
The son did not appear to like the Japanese food served for breakfast, but seemed interested in what he saw from the hotel window, as he said he would like to walk the streets of Tokyo, Toru Hasuike said.
Meanwhile, the Chimuras said in a statement Sunday evening that they spent the day with their daughter and two sons in their hotel room.
“In just a short time, we managed to bring back the harmonious atmosphere we had in our family before,” they said in the statement, adding that their daughter and sons appeared relatively relaxed and were in good spirits.
However, the Chimuras said they are worried about their children’s reactions when the family heads for their hometown in Obama, Fukui Prefecture, on Monday and how the three will adapt to their new lives in Japan.
Right after their reunion with their offspring Saturday evening, both Chimura and Hasuike were saying their kids appeared anxious and nervous.
Chimura said he wants his children to take time getting used to their environment.
Meanwhile in Obama, about 25 people, including Mayor Toshio Murakami, municipal assembly members and friends of the Chimuras gathered at City Hall to discuss how to welcome the Chimuras back.
They intend to give the Chimuras flowers and put up a welcome banner when the family returns Monday, but plan to skip major welcoming events so that the children will be able to spend time with their family, attendees said.
The Fukui Prefectural Government affirmed at a meeting earlier in the day that it will collaborate with the Obama Municipal Government to support the Chimuras, officials said.
The Hasuikes and the Chimuras obtained Japanese nationality for their children after the couples returned to Japan in October 2002. Soga registered hers as Japanese this year.