N. Korea Missile Tests Anger Families of Japanese Abductees

North Korea’s missile tests have not only provoked the rebuke of world leaders but also from the families of Japanese abductees.

Relatives of people abducted by North Korea expressed anger Wednesday at the seven missiles test-fired by the reclusive regime since Tuesday. Among the family members who denounced the test fires was Sakie Yokota, whose daughter Megumi was abducted nearly 30 years ago at the age of 13.

“‘They finally did it,’ is what I thought,” Yokota told the Japanese news agency Kyodo in an article released on Wednesday. “The fact that they launched six missiles likely shows that North Korea has become restless.

“Things have finally come this far,” Yokota continued, referring to Tokyo’s decision to ban the only direct passenger link between Japan and North Korea, the Mangyongbong-92 ship.

“The international community must realize that North Korea has been doing many evil things in addition to the abductions,” said Yokota.

In 2002, after continuous denial, North Korea confessed to kidnapping 13 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 80s. Pyongyang allowed five of them to return home but said the other eight — including Megumi Yokota — were dead. Many in Japan, including Yokota's parents, suspect the others are alive.
North Korea recently showed greater interest in addressing the Japanese abduction issue, allowing Kim Young Nam, the South Korean abductee victim and claimed husband of Megumi Yokota, to meet with his mother and older sister last week for the first time in 28 years.

Moreover, Japanese journalists were invited to visit Pyongyang from Tuesday through Saturday to address the abduction issue following the Yokotas’ and Japan’s refusal to believe Kim’s testimony that Megumi committed suicide and died in 1994.

Shigeru Yokota, Megumi’s father, questioned the truthfulness of Kim’s account and pointed out that Kim had given two different years for Megumi’s death. Kim had told reporters in Pyongyang that Megumi killed herself in 1994 but in a letter to the Yokotas in 2002, Kim wrote that his wife died of illness in 1993.

“It’s incredible that he could make a mistake about the vital detail, the year his wife died,” Shigeru said to the Japanese news agency The Asahi Shimbun in an interview on Monday.

In a conference at the Korea Press Center in central Seoul on Tuesday, Korean abduction groups and family members of abductees also argued that Kim was not telling the truth during his speech in the press conference last Thursday.

“It was a political maneuvering conducted by Kim Young Nam on behalf of the Pyongyang regime,” said Lee Mi-il, president of the Korean War Abductees’ Family Union, according to AsiaMedia. “He was not in a condition to speak freely.”

The representative of the Families of the Abducted and Detained in North Korea (FAD), Choi Woo-Young, criticized Seoul’s policies on North Korea noting that the government tended to appease the North.

“Inter-Korean exchanges are good, but exchanges that have no truth in them will later mutate into the biggest nightmare for both Koreas,” Choi said.