• Kyodo News


The son of Yaeko Taguchi, a Japanese who was abducted by North Korea in 1978, said he wants to find out what his mother was like when he meets Kim Hyon Hui, a former North Korean agent believed to have learned Japanese from Taguchi, probably by the end of this month.

“I would like to ask (Kim) about (my mother’s) gestures and favorite things so I can get an image of her,” Koichi Iizuka, 32, said in a recent interview.

On Saturday, sources familiar with the situation said the meeting is expected to take place in South Korea later this month.

Kim, convicted of the fatal bombing of a South Korean airliner in 1987 but later freed under a presidential pardon, has expressed her desire to meet Taguchi’s relatives. Kim is currently in South Korea.

Iizuka, an engineer at an information technology company in Tokyo, said he has no memory of his mother because he was only 1 when she was abducted. Taguchi was kidnapped at the age of 22.

Iizuka was raised by Taguchi’s brother, Shigeo Iizuka, 70, and his wife. Iizuka was 21 when Shigeo informed him that he was Taguchi’s son.

“I was shocked to be told two facts — that the couple who raised me are not my real parents and that my real mother is in North Korea,” Iizuka said.

Taguchi is one of at least a dozen other Japanese who remain missing, according to the Japanese government. North Korea admitted abducting her but says she died in 1986, a claim Japan disputes.

Iizuka made his name public in 2004 because he thought Pyongyang’s account of Taguchi’s death was nonsense and he wanted to rescue her.

Iizuka spends his weekends telling the public about his mom and the abduction issue.

Iizuka said that if Taguchi comes back, the first word he will say to her will be “mother.”

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