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[HOT LINKS] Japanese woman abducted by North Korea an icon, but South Korean husband forgotten

July 2, 2014
Song Il Ho, North Korea's ambassador in charge of normalizing relations with Japan, center left, and Junichi Ihara, head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, center right, arrive for a meeting at the North Korean Embassy in Beijing, China Tuesday, July 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Song Il Ho, North Korea’s ambassador in charge of normalizing relations with Japan, center left, and Junichi Ihara, head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, center right, arrive for a meeting at the North Korean Embassy in Beijing, China Tuesday, July 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

[REUTERS]  Kim Young-nam was a teenager living on the coast of South Korea when he disappeared in 1978, only to turn up in North Korea. There, he met and married Megumi Yokota, a Japanese national abducted by North Korean agents on her way home from school a year previously.

But the contrast in how they are remembered in their home countries is stark.

More than 35 years after her kidnap, Yokota has become a symbol of Japan’s all-out effort to bring back at least a dozen of its citizens believed to be held by the North.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reopened dialogue with isolated North Korea and offered to ease sanctions in return for answers on the abductees, in what he has made a signature issue of his term in office. The two sides held talks on Tuesday in Beijing.

Kim, one of more than 500 South Korean civilians thought to have been abducted and held in the North, is all but forgotten.

“Prime Minister Abe … obviously pushed for much more, and it begs the question: what is our government doing for those 500 people?”, his sister, Kim Young-ja, 56, said in an interview on Wednesday.  [READ MORE]

 

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