Little momentum seen in effort to resolve North Korean abduction issue

In November 1977, Megumi Yokota, then 13, was abducted by North Korean agents on her way home from school. She is among 12 abductees that the Japanese government wants returned home.
Megumi Yokota was abducted at age 13 when she was on her way home from school on Nov 15, 1977. Today, she is the face of the Japanese government's efforts to demand the return of all its citizens abducted by North Korea. PHOTO: HEADQUARTERS FOR THE A
Professor Kaoru Hasuike (left) with Niigata Prefectural Police Headquarters chief inspector Naohiro Takasawa at the beach where the professor and his then girlfriend Yukiko Okudo, now married to him, were abducted by North Korea in 1978. The couple were among five abductees who were allowed to return to Japan after a breakthrough summit between Japan and North Korea in 2002.ST PHOTO: WALTER SIM
Megumi Yokota was abducted at age 13 when she was on her way home from school on Nov 15, 1977. Today, she is the face of the Japanese government's efforts to demand the return of all its citizens abducted by North Korea. PHOTO: HEADQUARTERS FOR THE A
Megumi Yokota was abducted at age 13 when she was on her way home from school on Nov 15, 1977. Today, she is the face of the Japanese government’s efforts to demand the return of all its citizens abducted by North Korea.PHOTO: HEADQUARTERS FOR THE ABDUCTION ISSUE, GOVERNMENT OF JAPAN

Japan raising matter at every diplomatic chance, but hurdles like denuclearisation complicate efforts

When she was 13, Megumi Yokota was a bubbly, cheerful and inquisitive girl who loved to sing and draw, and had varied interests such as calligraphy, classical ballet and badminton.

But above all, she was filial. She gave her father, then a central bank employee, a comb for his 45th birthday on Nov 14, 1977, telling him to take care of his appearance.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 29, 2019, with the headline 'Little momentum seen in effort to resolve N. Korean abduction issue'. Print Edition | Subscribe