Megumi Yokota still alive: N Korean defector

TOKYO —

Megumi Yokota, a Japanese girl who was kidnapped by North Korean agents in 1977 when she was 13, is still alive, according to a North Korean defector in South Korea, Yonhap News Agency reported Sunday.

Park Sun-young, a lawmaker of South Korea’s opposition Liberty Forward Party, was quoted as saying that the North Korean defector made the remark in a videotaped testimony, Yonhap reported.

North Korea abducted at least 17 Japanese citizens throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, and the abductions remain a contentious issue between Japan and North Korea.

North Korea returned what it claimed to be Megumi’s remains in 1994, and said she had committed suicide. But DNA analysis of the remains by Japanese authorities were inconclusive. Megumi’s parents and other advocates believe she is still be alive.

The Yokotas celebrated Megumi’s 47th birthday last Wednesday with a ceremony focusing on the abduction issue in their hometown of Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Yokota’s mother Sakie noted that North Korea took 20 years to acknowledge abducting Megumi, and expressed hope that another breakthrough would come with time.

Yonhap reported that the defector said Megumi could not be allowed to leave North Korea because she was in possession of sensitive information.

Japan Today

  • 0

    NuckinFutz

    Is it just me or does anyone else find it odd that this story appears only a day after the story about Prime Minister Noda's renewed interest in the abduction issue and his statement that he'd be willing to travel to North Korea? Suspicious? Who's playing who here?

  • 3

    seesaw1

    Megumi could not be allowed to leave North Korea because she was in possession of sensitive information.

    So they sent her fake remains to the family in 1994?

  • 0

    miyazawa3

    what is so sensitive..information...? she was taken at the age of 13...and she is Japanese... How she carry s so sensitive information...huh...

    The defector try to fabricate something...

  • 1

    samwatters

    A few years ago another North Korean defector said the same thing about Megumi Yokota---I've seen her! I've talked to her!---- and was treated like royalty by then Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and his administration. The person saying these things is probably hoping for some of the same treatment. And NuckingFutz, I think you hit the nail squarely on the head!

  • 2

    Nicky Washida

    @miyazawa - I would imagine by now she speaks fluent Korean, and I also heard that she was teaching government agents Japanese - so you would imagine through that line of work she would probably be privvy to sensitive info.

    not defending the Koreans though - abducting anyone never mind a 13 year old girl away from her family is reprehensible.

  • -2

    Cos

    If I were Megumi and still alive, I'm not sure I would want to reappear... and meet the Yokota parents. Look at their attitude with the grand-daughter. I really found them abominable to reject the kid because they had no proof she was the grand-daughter. They had no more proof that she wasn't. So if Megumi showed up, they'd ask her to take a DNA test before talking to her ? They seem to have lost their sanity over the years, so why would she come back to a family that can only hate her daughter and her husband (since they are North-Koreans) and that want the war against the country she calls home ?

  • 2

    Mentaiko2

    This issue is terrible and the Yokota's continue to go through hell.

  • 6

    cleo

    Look at their attitude with the grand-daughter. I really found them abominable to reject the kid because they had no proof she was the grand-daughter.

    ?? This is news to me. There is DNA proof that the girl has a blood link with the Yokotas, and all the news articles I have read have been about the Yokotas wanting to meet their granddaughter but being unwilling/unable (due to Japanese gov. pressure?) to go to North Korea to do so. The Yokotas (and anyone else) would be fools to accept anything North Korea said without independent back-up, but where do you get the idea that they 'rejected' their granddaughter?

  • 0

    techall

    Yonhap reported that the defector said Megumi could not be allowed to leave North Korea because she was in possession of sensitive information.

    Kim Il-Sun's original recipe for Kim-chee.

  • 0

    miyazawa3

    The Japanese language is not a deal for north Korea, (unfortunately for you and me who struggling, here). To learn Japanese from a 13 year girl forcefully kept away from her life and loving Family. Hope she almost forget now everything except only how to breath . may be now she like them as she married , has children...hopefully she is doing ok with them...so far if she is living 34 years. When they want they will release her...as they did release other few Japanese, years ago , take time... it is not due to her possession of secret information .

  • 2

    DeDe Miura

    When the other abductees were returned to Japan, the granddaughter of the Yokota's was there, too. The Yokota's said they didn't want to let her come to Japan because if they did, then they felt that there would be no more hope in finding their daughter.

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    If it's true then it's wonderful, save that it won't be proven in all likelihood, but my guess is these former NKoreans are just playing on the heart-strings of the people here, knowing full well it will land them an all-expenses paid trip. They know they'll be wined and dined at the finest hotels, given helicopter tours of Tokyo, and that the abductees' families will lap up anything they say, which will be vagueries like: "We heard from someone who knows someone that there was a Japanese woman living somewhere that looked like someone... the picture was blurred and the face could not be see, but it is rumoured that it looked like someone who might be Yokota".

    The poor abductees' families have to keep going through these 'rumours' and get all worked up, only to remain as they are -- rumours. Noda can approach the NK government on the side-lines of larger talks, and enquire about this as a bilateral issue, but he's got to be careful of the way he does it, and will likely need to offer something in return for any cooperation. If he goes in 'demanding' information or what not, he'll be shown the door and NK will lock up tighter than ever on the issue, which it already considers resolved -- especially since they know Noda will likely be out within a year's time.

  • 0

    Serrano

    What Mentaiko2 said. I feel so sorry for the Yokotas.

  • -1

    sillygirl

    somrbody wants attention, that is all.

  • -1

    Weasel

    Being played like a fiddle.

  • -1

    just-a-guy

    Megumi possession of sensitive information...........what was that will be? Kim Jonil's secret hobbies?

  • 0

    gogogo

    Sounds like North Korea planned these "defectors" to give fake info out there so Japan can't move on from this issue.

  • 0

    edojin

    To "just-a-guy": Apparently Megumi is in possession of sensitive information. She has trained North Korean spies how to speak Japanese among other things. If she were released by the North, she could be able to identify these spies. And these spies have probably set up shop here in Japan and elsewhere. They don't want her anywhere near them ... nor do they want her back in Japan for obvious reasons.

  • 2

    JapanGal

    She has proof that Kim Il wears high heels.

  • -5

    Cos

    The truth is Meg' Yokota is living in Japan undercover and she worked for Tepco in Fukushima... where she caused that quake, tsunami and everything... and before, she worked in New-York at the WTC. Megumi is either Catwoman or the Joker.

    "Apparently Megumi is in possession of sensitive information."

    In real life, that means being dead.

    Cleo,

    The only serious hope for all the thousands of abducted in North-Korea is to see the country opening up in the quickest delays, as they could travel and recontact families before all their parents pass of old age. And quickest delay... that's overdue, that should have been done around 1970, as they did with China. Megumi wouldn't have been abducted at all. That's why the sympathy I have for the couple of old crazy parents is limited. They are victims, that's terrible. But they don't need to cause unnecessary trouble. It's possible they are manipulated too. Sorry for their fate, now, the son should take them to a doctor for therapy, a prescription of viagra, whatever.

    "where do you get the idea that they 'rejected' their granddaughter?"

    That was their declaration in front of the cameras the weeks after the girl's existence was revealed. They were talking about the girl and her father as being kind of spies. Then the girl was shown some of the footage, wasn't she ? We saw that on NHK. They got DNA results later, but they were not publicly happy to be grand-parents. Did you hear them say they wanted to buy the little girl a randosel bag to go to school, sending her otoshidama or anything grandparentesque ? If so, I totally missed those news of their joy. I hope to be wrong, but rationally, It's 99.99% chances that Megumi is now dead as the husband and daughter say (suicide or not, historians will research). The affair became such a big pain in the a... that if NK had the possibility to give a Megumi back, dead or alive, in the last years, they would have delivered her in helicopter on the beach where they took her. So if Megumi can't come back ever, the only thing the Yokotas could hope obtaining was meeting and creating relations with the grand-kid and son-in-law... And that didn't seem to be very high on their priority list, that was below getting DNA tests about Megumi. It's their right. I find that extremely "cold". The result is they didn't get anything.

    "(due to Japanese gov. pressure?) "

    Uh ? The Yokotas are free to tour Europe and the US with to PR their movies, so they can go to China (and fly to NK from there) anytime they want. Then North-Korea may accept their visit or not. But what is North-Korea's interest in letting the Yokotas in at this point ?And what is Japan's interest in asking NK to accept their visit ? Both countries could only get more diplomatic troubles as the Yokotas cannot be satisfied anyway. If they saw Megumi on her deathbed with all the evidence, they would ask to sue half of North-Korea, with endless appeals. Some other families have been able to meet "abducted" relatives, because they had not an agenda of activists.

  • 1

    mshimusa1

    kim jong il (fat lil kimmy) also abducted S Koreans including soldiers and ordinary citizens..Why don't S Korea and Japan work together to rescue their own citizens from dprk? That would help improve & develop a stronger bond of friendship between S Korea and Japan which can be quite testy as far as relations between Seoul & Tokyo is concerned!!

  • 0

    cleo

    Did you hear them say they wanted to buy the little girl a randosel bag to go to school, sending her otoshidama or anything grandparentesque ?

    No, I did not hear any suggestion at all from any quarter of them buying her a randosel. But then since she was 15 years old when they first learned of her existence, I wouldn't expect them to. I did hear that they had written to the girl, twice, but had no idea if she actually ever received the letters. Not much chance of otoshidama or anything else getting through the NK postal system.

    I did see footage of them being very upset in 2002 about an interview with the girl in which reporters from 2 newspapers and a TV network asked what they considered to be inappropriate questions for a young girl - "just like police questioning" that was "exasperating to us family members".

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20021027a3.html

    meeting and creating relations with the grand-kid and son-in-law... And that didn't seem to be very high on their priority list

    Yet Shigeru Yokota said 'I want to meet the girl as soon as possible'. He also commented that 'She is small in stature and looks like me and my wife.' I don't recall seeing any rejection of the girl on NHK. What I recall is two elderly people obviously punch-drunk from losing their daughter, finding out she'd been abducted, hoping she was alive, being told she was dead, hearing more reports that she was still alive, ashes claimed to be hers then shown to be not, then being told they have a granddaughter born and raised in NK....setting them up for another disappointment? I wouldn't expect them to be openly overjoyed in response to anything coming out of Pyong Yang unless it were Megumi herself still wearing her school uniform.

    the sympathy I have for the couple of old crazy parents is limited

    Now that I find extremely cold.....

  • 0

    gonemad

    The probability that any North Korean defector knows Megumi Yokota is quite low. She certainly isn't a celebrity there. When the news that she is still alive comes without further reference (who is this defector and why can't she tell his name?) from a right-wing MP which has some "issues" with Japan (e.g. she changed her official residence to Dokdo), then how serious can we take it?

  • -1

    steve@CPFC

    This is of course very sad for the family, but far too many people have become involved for heir own selfish reasons. This makes the story tiresome.

  • 0

    nandakandamanda

    The cynical line is the easiest to take, but the equal and opposite just might be true.

    Maybe this NK defector does actually know something new and helpful.

    Until then I will stand and wait.

  • -2

    zurcronium

    I am sorry, who cares about crimes committed in 1977? This is a non-issue that will never be resolved. The LDP Abe made this issue topic A in order to be PM for a year, until he quit the job because it was too hard.

    Drop it and move on. Disco is dead and so is this matter.

  • -1

    JapanGal

    you are mean zurcronium, but ironically funny at the same time. I hope you wear a leisure suit when you read and comment on JT. I smile and send you a hug

  • 0

    whiskeysour

    I've seen her but I don't have her holding a newspaper with the current date she is holiding in her hands as I am taking the picture. PRICELESS USELESS INFORMATION Something doesn't add up here. Maybe the defectors are spies

  • 0

    whiskeysour

    I've seen her but I do not have a picture with / of her. Or a letter or anything !!!! Yeah !!!! I'm sorry I'm blowing smoke in the wind..

  • 0

    Farmboy

    North Korea returned what it claimed to be Megumi’s remains in 1994, and said she had committed suicide. But DNA analysis of the remains by Japanese authorities were inconclusive.

    I thought they were conclusive, and that they concluded the remains were definitely not hers. Admittedly, I haven't followed this closely. Did I miss something?

  • 0

    Jack Stern

    The whole thing makes for a good pulp fiction story about a girl who is kidnaped by NK and a special team of super heros goes into the NK and retrieves her. The story could be spun so many ways and makes for an interesting movie.

  • 0

    Gurukun

    It's weird how many defectors say that they know her. What are the chances of that happening? There's people that live in my own city that I've never seen before, much less remember.

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