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A woman Japan suspects helped abduct two children born to a Japanese woman and a Korean man does not exist, a Japanese professor who recently visited North Korea quoted Pyongyang as saying.

Kenichi Asano, of Doshisha University in Kyoto, said Monday that Ri Pyong Dok, a researcher in charge of Japan at the North Korean Foreign Ministry, made the remark during a meeting in late April in Pyongyang.

Asano said that when he asked whether North Korea will respond to Japan’s call to hand over the woman suspected of abducting the children from Japan to North Korea in 1974, Ri said, “It is impossible to put someone who does not exist on the international wanted list.”

Japanese police have obtained an arrest warrant for Yoko Kinoshita, an ethnic Korean who became a Japanese national.

They put her on the international wanted list through Interpol. Japan has said she is believed to be living in North Korea.

The Japanese mother, Hideko Watanabe, was 32 when she disappeared in late 1973.

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