SEOUL – A man allegedly abducted from South Korea to the North and believed to be the husband of Megumi Yokota, a Japanese woman who was also abducted by Pyongyang, has been placed under house arrest, the head of a group of South Korean abductees’ family members said Friday.
Choi Seong Ryong said he obtained the information from a North Korean official late last month.
The Japanese government announced Tuesday that Yokota’s husband is most likely Kim Young Nam, a South Korean who was taken to the North in 1977. The announcement was based on a DNA analysis of the husband’s relatives and Yokota’s daughter, Kim Hye Gyong.
The results are at odds with the North’s claim that Yokota’s husband is a North Korean man named Kim Chol Jun.
The North Korean authorities are believed to have placed Yokota’s husband under house arrest after relatives in Japan and South Korea demanded DNA tests on the daughter in January.
Choi quoted the North Korean official as saying Kim Young Nam is not allowed to leave his house and that an order has been issued to prevent any information about him from becoming public.
“I believe North Korea predicted that the DNA analysis results would be disadvantageous and therefore put him under house arrest even before the results were released,” Choi said.
Choi urged North Korea to reveal all the information it has on the abductions.
Kim Young Nam is among five youths between the ages of 16 and 18 who were abducted by North Korea in 1977 and 1978, according to the group.
North Korea has said that Yokota, who was abducted in 1977 at age 13, married Kim Chol Jun in 1986 and gave birth to a daughter in 1987. Pyongyang said Yokota committed suicide in 1994 while being treated for depression.
The Japanese government obtained DNA samples from Yokota’s daughter in North Korea following Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s landmark visit to Pyongyang in September 2002 for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
Abductor living free
SEOUL (Kyodo) The North Korean agent who kidnapped Kim Young Nam, who is believed to be the husband of Megumi Yokota, a Japanese abducted by the North, now lives in Seoul and runs his own business, a Seoul daily reported Friday.
The abductor, identified as Kim Gwang Hyun, abducted Kim Young Nam, who was then a high school student, in August 1978, the Chosun Ilbo reported.
The newspaper pointed out the stark contrasts of the two men’s fates, with Kim Gwang Hyun living comfortably in South Korea while his victim is stuck in the North instructing spies to be sent there.
Kim Gwang Hyun was arrested off the western coast of Seosan, South Korea, on June 21, 1980, while spying on the South and was subsequently imprisoned. After his release he married a South Korean woman with whom he had a son and settled in Seoul, the newspaper said.
The daily said that in 1965, Kim Gwang Hyun, at age 27, received special training for maritime infiltration under the command of the Workers Party of (North) Korea.
From 1974, he worked at the “301 Maritime Liaison Office” carrying spies to the South and bringing them back to the North.