• Kyodo


Yasushi Chimura, who was abducted by North Korea and repatriated in 2002, became a permanent municipal employee Monday in his hometown after working as a temporary employee for three years.

Obama Mayor Toshio Murakami handed Chimura, 50, an employment certificate confirming his appointment as a planning official in the city’s tourism and international exchange section in a ceremony at City Hall.

“I am really grateful to the people who supported me after my return from North Korea. I am deeply aware of my duties and will diligently devote myself to my work,” Chimura said in a statement.

Chimura passed an exam in November to become a permanent employee.

He was abducted by North Korean agents from Obama, which is on the Sea of Japan coast, in July 1978 along with his girlfriend, Fukie Hamamoto.

The two married in North Korea. They returned to Japan in October 2002, together with three other abductees.

The couple’s three children, who were born in North Korea, were allowed to leave the country in May 2004 and joined their parents in Japan.

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