Foreign Ministry officials are breathing easier now that it appears that arranging repatriated abductee Hitomi Soga’s family reunion in Jakarta may not be as costly as initially thought.

The government-chartered plane sent to Pyongyang to pick up Soga’s American husband, Charles Robert Jenkins, and their two daughters for the reunion in Jakarta cost only 50,000 yen, it was learned Wednesday.

Beating Japan Airlines Co., All Nippon Airways Co. made the surprisingly low bid, apparently believing it would be great publicity, as the emotional reunion of Soga and her family on the tarmac next to the ANA jet, after a 21-month separation, would be repeatedly aired on television.

Meanwhile, the cost of the suite at the Jakarta luxury hotel where the family is staying will be “generously discounted” thanks to an offer by the hotel owner’s wife, who is Japanese, a senior ministry official said.

The ministry had been worried that the expenses for the reunion might balloon.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.