The family of Kim Young Nam, the South Korean believed kidnapped by North Korea and married to abductee Megumi Yokota, has proposed holding a meeting between him, the couple’s daughter and Yokota’s parents, either in South Korea or a third country, Yokota’s father said Saturday.
Shigeru Yokota, 73, whose daughter was abducted in 1977 at age 13, said he received the proposal in late last month via the Japanese government.
The government was contacted by Choi Song Yong, head of a group of families of South Koreans abducted to North Korea. Yokota said he has not replied to the proposal.
“The idea of meeting in a third country is the same as meeting in North Korea, if we only have two or three days,” Yokota said. “I don’t think we (would be able to) speak freely.”
In late June, Kim Young Nam had a government-arranged reunion with his mother, Choi Gye Wol, and sister, Kim Young Ja, at the Mount Kumgang resort in North Korea for the first time in 28 years.
Choi Song Yong told the Japanese government that Kim’s mother and sister plan to meet with Kim again and suggested that Yokota’s parents join them, according to Yokota.
Yokota said he was told that Kim’s mother and the sister are hoping to meet Kim either in South Korea or some other country, so that they can speak more freely with him.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, speaking to reporters in Osaka, said he wants a group of relatives of Japanese abduction victims to think thoroughly about how to respond to the proposal.
In July, during a news conference with Japanese reporters in Pyongyang, Kim and the couple’s 18-year-old daughter, Eun Gyong, called on Yokota’s parents to visit North Korea. North Korea earlier identified Yokota’s daughter as Hye Gyong. Kim said Hye Gyong was her informal name.
Kim is one of the at least 485 South Koreans who Seoul believes were abducted by North Korea. Kim has denied being kidnapped, saying he was rescued by North Koreans after drifting off on a boat.
North Korea admitted in 2002 to having abducted Megumi Yokota and 12 other Japanese nationals. Pyongyang says Yokota killed herself while being treated for depression, but her family and the Japanese government dispute that assertion.
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