• Kyodo News


Former North Korean spy Kim Hyon Hui, who was involved in blowing up a Korean Air jetliner in 1987, will visit Japan for the first time since the incident from Tuesday for four days, sources close to bilateral relations said Saturday.

During the visit, Kim, 48, is slated to meet with the parents of abductee Megumi Yokota and others. Police are poised to forgo questioning her about her alleged use of a fake Japanese passport in the incident, in consideration of South Korea’s wishes.

Justice Minister Keiko Chiba will issue a special permit for her to enter Japan, as Kim was sentenced to death over the bombing that killed all 115 people on board, and Japanese immigration law denies entry to foreign nationals sentenced to one year or more in jail, the sources said.

Police are expected to keep Kim heavily guarded and her itinerary secret at the request of the South Korean government, due to concerns surrounding terrorist attacks by North Korea, they said.

Kim reportedly confessed to Japanese government officials in May last year in South Korea that she had met with Yokota — one of the Japanese who Tokyo says remain unaccounted-for after being abducted to North Korea — during training prior to the bombing.

Yokota was abducted by North Korean agents in 1977 at age 13 on her way home from school. Pyongyang said she died in North Korea, but her family does not believe the claim.

After being apprehended in Bahrain, Kim was sent to South Korea and was sentenced to death in 1989 for her role in the airliner bombing, but was freed later under a presidential pardon.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.