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Kim adds little info about abductees but Yokota family heartened

KYODO Former North Korean agent Kim Hyon Hui provided few details about the fate of Megumi Yokota, one of the Japanese abducted by North Korea, her parents said Thursday, a day after meeting the woman who downed a Korean Air jetliner in 1987.

“We couldn’t get what we wanted to know most,” Yokota’s 74-year-old mother, Sakie, said at a news conference in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, where Kim stayed after her Tuesday arrival in Tokyo.

The abductee’s father, Shigeru, 77, told the same briefing that while the ex-North Korean saboteur appeared sincere during the meeting, “there was nothing new” in what Kim, 48, told them about their long-missing daughter.

During the Wednesday evening meeting, she told Yokota’s parents that she had met with her “just once,” according to the couple.

Kim’s testimony provided the impetus for her first-ever meeting with the Yokotas, which took place at ex-Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s country house in Karuizawa. Yokota’s twin brothers, Takuya and Tetsuya, 41, were also present.

Kim, who also met with relatives of abductee Yaeko Taguchi, during her stay in Karuizawa, left Thursday morning for Tokyo to see the kin of other abductees in the afternoon. She is scheduled to return to South Korea on Friday.

Yokota was kidnapped in 1977 at age 13. Pyongyang claims she died, but her family rejects the assertion. Tokyo also dismisses Pyongyang’s claim about Yokota, as well as the North’s assertion that Taguchi is also dead.

Although Wednesday’s meeting seemed to shed little light on Megumi Yokota, her mother nonetheless expressed pleasure about the opportunity to meet with Kim.

Kim “was near Megumi,” she said. “Meeting her is like a dream. I was so happy.”

The Yokotas said they were not sure when Kim met with their daughter, but that Kim told them she and a colleague once went to see the abductee at their colleague’s suggestion and the three had a Korean-style pancake Megumi made.

Kim also remembered Yokota keeping many cats. She cheered up the parents at the end of their meeting, saying, “Megumi is definitely alive. So don’t give up, keep your hopes up,” Sakie Yokota said, adding, “She encouraged me a lot.”

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Kim met with Shigeo Iizuka, the 72-year-old brother of abductee Taguchi, and her 33-year-old son, Koichiro Iizuka, also in Karuizawa.

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