• Kyodo

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Kaoru Hasuike, one of the five Japanese abductees repatriated from North Korea, said Friday that a former Pyongyang spy who told a Diet committee the previous day that the two had encountered each other in the North was mistaken.

Hasuike said he had never met with An Myong Jin at what is now called Kim Jong Il Political and Military University. “I never visited the (school) and I never met Mr. An,” he said in a statement.

His statement contradicts remarks made by An, a former North Korean spy who defected to South Korea in 1993, when he appeared Thursday before the House of Representatives special committee on the abduction issue.

An told the panel he saw or heard of 15 Japanese nationals living in North Korea from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. An mentioned Hasuike as one of the Japanese he saw at the university.

Hasuike was abducted to North Korea in 1978 and was returned to Japan in 2002 along with four other Japanese, including Yukiko Okudo, whom he married while in the North.

During the Diet appearance, An said Hasuike must have information on the fate of Japanese abducted by Pyongyang and said he hoped he would “not fear North Korea but speak up for the sake of the Japanese people.”

Hasuike said he has told “everything that I have heard or saw about the abductees to the government and the families of the abductees.”

“I have left it up to them how they would use the information.”

He also said he is ready to provide further information “if requested,” but “would like to refrain from disclosing the information to the media.”

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