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The government on Monday added a man who went missing in Kobe in 1978 to the list of Japanese whom it officially recognizes as having been abducted by North Korea, sources said.

This will bring the number of such people on the list to 11.

The sources said the government would make an announcement later in the day on the case of Minoru Tanaka, who disappeared at the age of 28.

This is the first addition to the list since Miyoshi Soga was included in October 2002 when five abductees, including Soga’s daughter, returned to Japan.

Soga is the mother of Hitomi Soga, who was among the five repatriated to Japan a month after Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il held their first summit in Pyongyang. It was then that Kim admitted North Korean agents had abducted Japanese nationals in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The case of Tanaka, who was a noodle shop employee in Kobe, came to light in 1997 after a now-deceased man believed to be a spy for the North confessed that Tanaka was taken to North Korea via Vienna at the invitation of the noodle shop owner, who was also a spy for Pyongyang.

The last record of Tanaka was his departure from Narita airport in June 1978. He has not been heard from since.

The move came a day after some 6,000 people gathered at a rally in Tokyo urging the government to impose immediate economic sanctions on North Korea over the abduction issue.

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