N. Korea Invites Japanese Media Amid Abduction Dispute

North Korea has invited Japanese media to Pyongyang following a controversial press conference with the husband of a Japanese abductee last week.

Japan’s Kyodo news agency Asahi Shimbun and TV network NHK was invited to visit the reclusive country from Tuesday through Saturday, reported South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

The Korean news agency quoted an Asahi Shimbun official saying journalists will meet a top North Korean foreign ministry official in charge with Japanese affairs, and possibly the Korean husband of the well-known Japanese abductee Megumi Yokota.

Megumi Yokota was abducted by North Korea in 1977 at the age of 13 off the shores of Niigata, Japan. Her parents have been advocating for her and other abductees’ release for nearly thirty years and have refused to believe North Korea’s claims that Megumi committed suicide in 1994.

Despite the Yokotas’ and Japan’s refusal to believe that Megumi is dead, her husband, Kim Young Nam, backed North Korea’s claim that his wife committed suicide after battling with depression during a press conference at the North Korean resort last Thursday. Moreover, Kim denied that he was abducted by North Korea but instead said that he was saved by the country’s ship.

North Korea has been called the world’s worst human rights violator and was recommended by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom to be re-designated as a country of particular concern in May for its government’s engagement in “systematic and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

Reportedly, North Korea plans to show journalists Yokota’s former residence and her claimed grave, according to Yonhap’s information from an unnamed Seoul official.