• Kyodo


A Hokkaido native who later became a naturalized North Korean citizen and received a letter from leader Kim Jong Un in December has been identified as Yumiko Inada, according to Pyongyang’s state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper.

On Dec. 29, the Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim had sent a handwritten letter to Rim Kyong Sim, which the agency described as a “naturalized Japanese woman” living in the eastern province of South Hamgyong, but did not provide her maiden Japanese name or any further details.

Rodong Sinmun, a mouthpiece of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, featured Rim’s life in its Thursday edition, in an apparent attempt to get Japan’s attention and revive bilateral talks that stalled following the North’s rocket launch Dec. 12. The feature article said Rim, 63, moved to North Korea at age 11 when her Japanese mother emigrated with a man who hailed from the Korean Peninsula but had been living in Japan.

After graduating from junior high school, Rim got a job on a farm in South Hamgyong Province and several years later married one of her fellow workers. They have two sons, the Rodong Sinmun said.

According to the KCNA report, Kim wrote in his letter addressed to Rim on Dec. 26 that he was happy to learn of her excitement after her oldest son was admitted to the Workers’ Party of Korea.

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