• Kyodo


Shigeru Yokota, whose daughter was abducted to North Korea in 1977, and the mother of South Korean abductee Kim Young Nam — believed to be Megumi Yokota’s husband — pledged Tuesday to work together for the repatriation of their children.

Yokota, 73, met with Choi Gye Wol, 78, in Seoul.

Choi burst into tears when Yokota approached and told her he does not feel it was the first time for them to meet.

“I’m happy to learn that Kim Young Nam is Megumi’s husband,” Yokota told Choi, who said she feels the same way.

“Let’s fight together for the rescue of the loved ones,” Yokota said.

One of Yokota’s twin sons, Tetsuya, 37, and Kim Young Nam’s sister, Kim Young Ja, 48, were present at the meeting.

Yokota and Choi met for the first time since the Japanese government concluded in April, based on DNA tests, that Kim Young Nam is highly likely the father of Megumi Yokota’s daughter, Kim Hye Gyong.

“Kim Young Nam and Kim Hye Gyong were the scarce sources of hope (for Megumi) in a hell like North Korea,” Tetsuya Yokota said at the meeting.

Kim Young Nam is said to be among five South Korean men North Korea abducted in 1977 and 1978 when they were between the ages of 16 and 18.

North Korea says Megumi Yokota married a man named Kim Chol Jun in 1986 and gave birth to Kim Hye Gyong in 1987.

The Japanese government has provided a composite drawing of Kim Chol Jun and information about him to Kim Young Nam’s family, Japanese sources said.

“I cannot be confident, but I felt that the feature of the nose in the drawing looks like that of my brother,” Kim Young Ja said of the drawing, possibly suggesting that Kim Chol Jun and Kim Young Nam could actually be the same man.

Japanese government officials met with Kim Chol Jun in November 2004, when they visited Pyongyang for bilateral talks on the abduction issue.

Before the meeting with Choi, Yokota said he hoped his meeting with relatives of South Korean abductee Kim Young Nam will raise public awareness of the abduction issue in South Korea.

Yokota, who began a three-day visit to South Korea on Monday, also said he hopes his trip encourages the South Korean government to work to bring the abductees home.

Prior to the meeting, Yokota, his son, and Teruaki Masumoto, whose sister, Rumiko, was also abducted by North Korea, visited with three groups of relatives of South Korean abductees.

Choi U Yong, head of one of the three groups, told the visitors, “Gaps remain between South Korea and Japan over history and other issues, but we need to promote cooperation over the abduction issue.”

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