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The death Friday of Shigeru Yokota, the father of Megumi Yokota, who became the face of the abductees taken by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s, will deal a devastating blow to the families who have been fighting for decades to get their loved ones back.

Yokota, who was 87, was at the forefront of a movement to pressure the government into retrieving 17 confirmed abductees. Megumi was abducted in 1977 while walking home from school in a village on the coast of Niigata Prefecture when she was 13.

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