Japan Journalists Find Many Discrepancies during North Korea Visit

Japanese press pointed out many discrepancies and suspicious claims during their visit to the reclusive country of North Korea last week to investigate the supposed death of Japanese abductee Megumi Yokota.

A highly-anticipated press conference with the man who is said to be Megumi’s husband, Kim Young Nam, and the couple’s daughter, Kim Hye Gyong, 18, took place last Thursday. According to Japanese news agency The Asahi Shimbun, Yokota’s husband “dodged crucial issues.”

During the first-ever meeting with Japanese reporters, Kim recalls Megumi as a “sympathetic and gentle woman” with fond memories of Japan.

However, when questioned on issues such as Megumi’s remains that are reported to contain the remains of more than one person after DNA testing in Japan, Kim Young Nam responded that “it’s very frustrating” that people call the ashes fake.

When reporters questioned Kim on how he found out Megumi was abducted, Kim said he never asked or attempted to ask Megumi about how she came to be in North Korea.

Furthermore, Kim denied several recent statements made by his sister after their meeting in Pyongyang about Megumi, including that Megumi’s ashes were mixed with someone else during cremation and that she was involved in a traffic accident as a child.

The news agency highlighted the fact that the chief at the facility where North Korean officials say Megumi’s body was cremated said Wednesday that it was “impossible” for remains to be mixed.

“It is impossible for a person’s remains to be mixed with another’s [here],” said Kim Ki Ho, the chief at the crematory in Pyongyang.

According to The Asahi Shimbun, Megumi’s father, Shigeru Yokota, 73, said he found Kim’s explanation hard to believe.

The abduction case of Megumi Yokota has drawn international attention as her parents tirelessly advocate for nearly 30 years for her return to Japan. Sakie Yokota, Megumi’s mother, met with President Bush in April in what the U.S. president called “one of the most moving meetings” he had ever held in his entire presidency.

Megumi was abducted by North Korea when she was 13-years-old in 1977 and was among the 13 Japanese North Korea has admitted to abducting from Japan.

On Friday, Japanese press was given a tour of the hospital that Megumi Yokota was said to be treated and later died, according to Kyodo News. Reporters were also taken to the tree on the hospital grounds where Megumi allegedly hung herself.