SEOUL – The sister of Kim Young Nam, the South Korean man believed to have been abducted to North Korea nearly three decades ago, told Kyodo News on Monday that her brother said it is conceivable the remains of other people became mixed in with those of his late wife, Japanese abductee Megumi Yokota, during her cremation.
Kim Young Ja spoke by telephone about remarks her brother made at their reunion in North Korea last week.
Referring to a letter he sent to Yokota’s parents in 2002 in which he said Yokota died in 1993, and not 1994 as later claimed, Kim Young Ja quoted her brother as saying that another person wrote the letter, which he only dictated. The letter was in the name of Kim Chol Jun, the North Korean identified as Yokota’s husband, who turned out to be Kim Young Nam.
He attributed the date discrepancy to confusion, according to Kim Young Ja.
Commenting on the events leading up to Yokota’s death, Kim Young Ja quoted her brother as saying her condition did not improve at the hospital where she initially received treatment, so she was moved to a better hospital.
“I heard her condition stabilized, but after a while received notification that she committed suicide,” Kim Young Nam was quoted as saying.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Kim Young Nam backed Pyongyang’s claim that Yokota committed suicide in 1994 and insisted the cremated remains handed over to Japan two years ago are those of his late wife.
Yokota was abducted by North Korean agents in Niigata Prefecture at age 13 in 1977. Pyongyang maintains that she committed suicide in 1994 while receiving treatment for depression.
Japan remains unconvinced of North Korea’s claim that Yokota committed suicide and said DNA analysis of the remains showed they were not Yokota’s but of two unknown people.
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