National / Politics

Yokota's mom to Abe: Hold abduction talks with North's Kim now

JIJI

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un should hold talks on resolving the abduction issue while the U.S. is still actively involved, the mother of abductee Megumi Yokota said.

Sakie Yokota, the 81-year-old mother of Megumi, who was abducted by North Korean agents 40 years ago at the age of 13, said Saturday that Abe should visit Pyongyang to meet with Kim before the United States’ determination to help resolve the issue dwindles.

“Now is the time,” Yokota told a rally attended by some 830 people in the city of Niigata.

Yokota and the families of other abductees met with U.S. President Donald Trump in Tokyo earlier this month during the leader’s visit to Japan, the first stop on his five-nation tour of Asia.

The abduction issue has vexed Japan for decades.

“My parents are now old,” said Takuya Yokota, Megumi’s 49-year-old younger brother. After hanging on 40 years for his sister’s return, his parents shouldn’t continue to be put through the misery of waiting, he said.

Former abductee Hitomi Soga, who also attended the rally, said she has been deprived of her mother, Miyoshi, who was abducted with her at age 46, for 39 years. Soga, 58, said she wants the abduction issue to be resolved as soon as possible.

Katsunobu Kato, minister in charge of the issue, said the government will boost cooperation with other countries as it works to give the families answers.

The families’ meeting with Trump was one step in that process, Kato added.