• Kyodo


Police obtained an arrest warrant Thursday for a woman in North Korea they believe was one of the agents who abducted Hitomi Soga to the North in 1978, according to sources.

The sources said the woman’s name is Kim Myon Suk and that Niigata Prefectural Police believe her to be in her 70s or 80s, if she is still alive.

Soga, 47, has said at rallies for abductees and their relatives that she was abducted by a group of three men but that she heard a woman speaking Japanese when she was taken aboard the boat that took her to North Korea.

One source said that she has also told police “there was a female North Korean agent among the abductors.”

Soga was a 19-year-old nurse when she was abducted on the evening of Aug. 12, 1978, near her home in what is now the city of Sado on Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture. She was walking with her 46-year-old mother, Miyoshi, who also disappeared at the time. Pyongyang has denied taking her, however, claiming it has no record of her being in the country.

Five abductees, including Soga, were allowed to return to Japan in October 2002 after then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi held a summit in Pyongyang with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. At that summit, the Nort admitted to abducting 13 Japanese, but said eight of them were dead — a claim Tokyo says has not been backed up by sufficient proof.

Soga married Charles Jenkins, a U.S. Army deserter to North Korea, in 1980 and they have two daughters. Jenkins and the children were allowed to leave North Korea in July 2004. They came to Japan via Indonesia.

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