SEOUL – Seoul plans to conduct DNA tests on the relatives of five South Korean men allegedly kidnapped by North Korea to determine if one of them had a child with abductee Megumi Yokota, sources close to a group of former South Korean abductees said Wednesday.
Scientists will check the DNA from Kim Hye Gyong, Yokota’s daughter, who lives in North Korea, against samples from the relatives of the men, one of whom they believe was married to Yokota, the sources said. They added Tokyo will supply the sample of Kim’s DNA.
Yokota was abducted to North Korea in 1977 at age 13 and Pyongyang claims she committed suicide there while being treated for depression. The South Korean group says the five South Koreans were between the ages of 16 and 18 when they were abducted by Pyongyang between 1977 and 1978 from the south of the country.
Japan has been conducting its own tests on DNA from the five men’s relatives, which South Korea provided in February. It obtained DNA samples from Kim Hye Gyong after Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s landmark summit in North Korea in September 2002 with leader Kim Jong Il.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe told reporters Wednesday in Tokyo the government was aware of South Korea’s plan and would decide how to react after it finished its own tests, which he said would take a while.
Pyongyang has said Yokota married Kim Chol Jun in 1986 and gave birth to Kim Hye Gyong in 1987. However, he has refused to give DNA samples.