For Families of Japanese Abducted by North Korea, Trump Visit Brings Spotlight

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tags: Japan, North Korea, Trump



Thumbnail Image -  In May 2004, North Korea allowed the five children of two abducted couples to leave North Korea and join their families, who had come back to Japan a year and a half before.

Their stories are wrenching narratives of normalcy interrupted: the young couple taken while on a date at the beach, the single mother snatched on her way to pick up her toddlers after work, and the teenager who never made it home from badminton practice.

Four decades ago, according to the Japanese government, at least 17 Japanese citizens vanished at the hands of North Korea, leaving their families with precious little information. North Korea has acknowledged only that its agents abducted 13 Japanese in the 1970s and ’80s. Five of them were returned home in 2002; North Korea has said the rest died long ago.

The Japanese government insists otherwise, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe repeatedly calling for North Korea to return the remaining abductees as part of his broader hawkish approach to the North.

Now President Trump also plans to press the cause, meeting during a visit to Japan starting Sunday with several of the affected families, including the parents of Megumi Yokota, abducted by North Korea in 1977 when she was just 13 years old.




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