Family of Japanese kidnap victim to meet former North Korean spy

Other News Materials 11 February 2009 12:26 (UTC +04:00)

The family of a Japanese woman abducted to North Korea is to meet with a former North Korean spy in the hope that she can shed light on the fate of the kidnap victim, officials said Wednesday, dpa reported.

The meeting would take place soon, South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung Hwan said after a meeting with his Japanese counterpart Hirofumi Nakasone in Seoul.

Former North Korean agent Kim Hyeon Hee, who now lives in South Korea, said she wanted to meet with the family of Yaeko Taguchi, more than 30 years after the Japanese woman was abducted by agents from the Stalinist state.

Kim was handed a death sentence in Seoul after the bombing of a South Korean passenger plane in 1987, but later pardoned. In the bombing, 115 people were killed.

Taguchi was abducted in 1978, then aged 22. Kim, who claims that she learned Japanese from the hostage, denied North Korean claims that Taguchi died in 1986 in a car crash. The Japanese woman was still alive in 1987, she said.

Full clarity about the fates of Japanese citizens abducted by Pyongyang in the 1970s and '80s has been a long-standing demand from Tokyo.

North Korea admitted to kidnapping 13 people, five of whom were allowed to return to Japan, while Tokyo says at least 17 Japanese were abducted.