• Kyodo News


A North Korean agent wanted for abducting Hitomi Soga to North Korea in 1978 inadvertently revealed her identity by bragging to her captive about her convert-violinist brother, sources said Friday.

Police obtained an arrest warrant for the agent, named Kim Myon Suk, after determining her identity based on information that her brother won fourth place in the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1978, the sources said.

Kim, believed to be in her 70s or 80s and still alive in North Korea, was a minder for the then 19-year-old Soga for about four months after helping to abduct her from Niigata Prefecture. Police suspect the agent was also a minder for Megumi Yokota, who was abducted at age 13 from the same prefecture in 1978.

Soga told Yokota’s parents after she was repatriated in 2002 that she lived with their daughter for nearly two years in Pyongyang and that they celebrated Yokota’s 14th birthday together in October 1978.

Another North Korean agent, Sin Guang Su, 77, who is wanted for kidnapping Japanese in 1978 and 1980, is thought to have served as a teacher to Soga and Yokota.

Pyongyang admitted in 2002 to abducting 13 Japanese nationals, five of whom it let return to Japan. The North claims the remaining eight, including Yokota, are dead.

Japan believes at least 16 of its citizens were kidnapped.

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