[HOT LINKS] The stories of 12 Japanese abducted by North Korea

July 2, 2014
In this photo taken in 1977 and released by National Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea, Megumi Yokota, 13, stands in front of Yorii Junior High School in Niigata, northwestern Japan, before her abduction by North Korean agents. (Photo: AP Photo/National Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea)

In this photo taken in 1977 and released by National Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea, Megumi Yokota, 13, stands in front of Yorii Junior High School in Niigata, northwestern Japan, before her abduction by North Korean agents.
(Photo: AP Photo/National Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea)

[USA TODAY]  

TOKYO (AP) — A 13-year-old schoolgirl walking home after badminton practice. A 28-year-old restaurant employee sent by his boss to Vienna. A young couple on a date, driving to the beach to see the sunset. They are among at least 17 Japanese — possibly many more than that — who were abducted by North Korea more than three decades ago.

The apparent reasons included training agents in Japanese language and social norms, or stealing identities so the agents could masquerade as Japanese for espionage and terrorism aimed mainly at South Korea.

North Korea allowed five to return in 2002, but the fate of the others remains unclear. In talks with Japan in Beijing on Tuesday, North Korea is expected to detail plans to investigate what happened to them, a possible step toward their eventual repatriation to Japan. [READ MORE] 

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