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nappukcha is a term for "North Korean abductee".

In September 2002 North Korea admitted its guilt in the cases of 15 Japanese citizens abducted between 1977 and 1983. Apparently, the people were taken as instructors in Japanese language and culture for Korean spies. In fall 2002, five of the abductees returned to Japan for a visit. In July 2003, they remain in Japan, having been reunited with family and friends. Some of them have found work, and it appears as if they will remain in their native country. However, all five returnees have children (in their late teens or early twenties) who are still in North Korea, and who are not allowed to leave. The abductees have been hesitant about explaining details of their 24 years in North Korea because of this. There are also eight people still missing; North Korea claims that they are dead of various natural causes.

Abductees returned to Japan include...

Chimura Yasushi, 23, and Hamamoto Fukie, also 23, were abducted from a coastal region in Fukui Prefecture in 1978. The couple was held in North Korea for 16 months before being allowed to marry. Their three children are currently in North Korea.

Hasuike Kaoru, 21, and Okudo Yukiko, 22, were abducted while walking on a beach in Niigata Prefecture in 1978. The couple married while in North Korea, and now have two children still in that country.

Soga Hitomi was 19 when she and her mother were abducted in 1978. Soga married US army deserter Charles Robert Jenkins in North Korea. He and their two daughters remain there.

Abductees reported dead include...

Matsuki Kaoru, 26, vanished from Europe around 1980. North Korea claims that he died in a car accident in 1996. However, Matsuki's brother Nobuhiro notes that Kaoru could not have known a Japanese address listed in a North Korean report on Kaoru.

Kume Yukata, 52, disappeared from an inn in Ishikawa Prefecture in 1977. His entrance to North Korea was not confirmed, and police suspect that Kume was thrown overboard en route.

Yokota Megumi, abducted at 13 while walking home from badminton practice in 1977 in Niigata City. North Korea claims that she committed suicide in 1993 while in hospital for mental illness. Yokota had a daughter while in North Korea; 15-year-old (2002) Kim He Gyung did not know her mother was Japanese. DNA has confirmed that Kim is Yokota's daughter. Several returned abductees say that they knew Yokota in North Korea, but not all of them knew that she was also Japanese.

Masumoto Rumiko, then 24, and Ichikawa Shuichi, then 23, were abducted while on a date Kagoshima Prefecture in 1978. They were later married, and apparently both died of heart attacks while in their 30s. A relative of Masumoto claims that marriage and death certificates provided are fakes, citing incorrect birth dates and suspicious seals.

Soga Miyoshi was 42 when she and her daughter Hitomi were abducted in 1978 while out walking. She is apparently dead.

Taguchi Yaeko was 22 when she was abducted in 1978. A woman whose description matched Taguchi's was described by North Korean agent, Kim Hyon Hi. "Lee Un Hye" taught Kim Japanese language and culture. She apparently died in 1986.

Hara Tadaaki was taken in 1980, when he was 49. Shin Kwang Su, the North Korean agent who abducted Hara, later acquired a Japanese passport while pretending to be Hara, and used it to gain access to South Korea. Hara is apparently now dead.

Ishioka Toru was 22 when he vanished from Europe in 1980. He reportedly died because of an accident with a gas heater less than a month after sending a letter home informing his family that he was living with two other Japanese citizens, Arimoto Keiko and Matsuki Kaoru, in North Korea.

Arimoto Keiko was studying English in Europe when she was abducted at age 23, in 1983. Arimoto later married Ishioka Toru, and they and their child died on the same day, in 1988. Arimoto's mother believes that there is a connection between Ishioka's letter and the deaths.

North Korea claims that the remains of seven out of eight of the apparently deceased abductees were washed away in a flood. The remains of the eighth, Matsuki Kaoru, were cremated twice and are quite possibly not truly his.

Japan's National Police Agency has announced suspicions that the true number of kidnapped Japanese people may be closer to 70 or 80.

Yokota Shigeru (Megumi's father) and Hasuike Toru (Kaoru's brother) are only two of the relatives of abductees involved in Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea. Members of the Association have travelled to the US and South Korea to lobby for assistance and publicise their cause, and continue to advocate further pressure on North Korea to support claims about the eight supposedly dead abductees and the release of the relatives of abductees being held.

South Korea

South Korean civilians in unknown number disappeared between July and September 1950, later to be used by North Korea for "propaganda purposes". The South Korean Red Cross Society estimates that about 26, 000 South Koreans were taken.

North Korea has not acknowledged any South Korean abductions.


Asahi Shinbun
Yomimuri Shinbun
Mainichi Shinbun
National Police Agency Japan (www.npa.go.jp)

Duly noted that no North Korean sources are included.

For more information, see the Association of the Families of Victims kidnapped by North Korea website at http://sukuu-kai.ram.ne.jp/e/mirror/ - far more detail than is included here, and information on the organisation's activity.

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