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Parents of kidnapped Japanese urge govt to press 'changing' North Korea on abductees

Published on Mar 24, 2014 5:09 PM

TOKYO (REUTERS) - The ageing parents of a 13-year-old Japanese girl abducted nearly 40 years ago by North Korea urged the Japanese government on Monday to heed signs of change in Pyongyang in order to find out what happened to their daughter.

Japan and North Korea are set to resume high-level talks next week over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes, as well as the fate of Japanese abducted decades ago to help train spies, after a hiatus of more than a year.

Earlier this month, the parents of Megumi Yokota, who was snatched off a northern Japanese beach on her way home from school in 1977, met their North Korean-born granddaughter and great-granddaughter for the first time.

"We think North Korea has changed a bit," Mr Shigeru Yokota, Megumi's father, told a news conference, citing pressure from food shortages and international sanctions. "We should use this opportunity to reach a conclusion," he said.

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