Is Megumi Yokota the Key to Ending the Korean Standoff?

This week, in the wake of increasingly shrill North Korean threats, Vice President Mike Pence is in East Asia, rallying the US-South Korea-Japan alliance around the Trump Doctrine of peace through strength.   Vice President Pence told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the United States was prepared to use force to bring lasting peace […]

Editorial: The Letters to Megumi Should be Read by All

The Sankei Shimbun has begun publishing the series “Letters to Megumi,” written by parents Shigeru and Sakie Yokota to their daughter who is held captive in North Korea.   “Mom was so terribly lonely. She tried to shake her loneliness by immersing herself in efforts to bring the abductees home,” Megumi’s parents write in their […]

A Letter to Megumi: “Forty years have gone by without you… Don’t ever give up, you are going to come home”

Megumi, hello. Spring has come round again. It is the season of graduations and matriculations. In the springtime forty years ago, Dad took a picture of you in your middle school uniform standing under the cherry trees. Those cherry trees were especially beautiful. The picture was taken after you had fallen ill and been unable […]

“We will bring the abductees home” – An Exclusive Interview with Prime Minister Abe

March 2017 marks twenty years since the families of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea formed a group to represent their concerns. On the eve of this anniversary, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sat down for an exclusive interview with Yukan Fuji—the Sankei Shimbun’s evening newspaper—in which he said that solving the abduction issue, a stark […]

Reopening the Abduction Case Files – Part Five: “Something strange is happening along the Sea of Japan”

This article originally appeared in the Sankei Shimbun morning edition, September 4, 2012.    A suspected case of an abduction carried out by North Korea was confirmed as fact at a summit between the leaders of Japan and North Korea in 2002. Sankei Shimbun had already reported the case 23 years earlier.   On January […]

Reopening the Abduction Case Files – Part Four: “Maybe our child is alive too…”

This article originally appeared in the Sankei Shimbun morning edition, September 3, 2012. All ages and dates are counted from that date.   At a Japan-North Korea summit, then-Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Il admitted to abducting Japanese people and asserted that five abductees were still alive. Of those, the Japanese side had been unsuccessfully tracking the […]

Editorial: Time for the United States and Japan to Cooperate on the Abduction Issue

North Korea chose the moment of the U.S.-Japan summit meeting to launch intermediate-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, and soon after assassinated Kim Jong-nam, the elder half-brother of Korean Workers’ Party chairman Kim Jong-un. Both instances are grim reminders of the violent and unpredictable nature of the government across the Sea of Japan. […]

Reopening the Abduction Case Files – Part Three: Whose Bones?

This article originally appeared in the Sankei Shimbun morning edition, September 2, 2012. All ages and dates are counted from that date.   In 2004, North Korea handed over what it claimed were the remains of Megumi Yokota. By that time, nearly two years had passed since then-Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Il had admitted that Megumi […]

Reopening the Abduction Case Files – Part Two: How North Korea Used Megumi as a Bargaining Tool

This article originally appeared in the Sankei Shimbun morning edition, September 1, 2012. All ages and dates are counted from that date.   Megumi Yokota, who was abducted by North Korean agents as she was coming home after middle school badminton practice, is representative of North Korea’s abduction victims. If her case is brought to […]

The Families of the Abducted: An Ultimatum and an Idea

The Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea and the National Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea held a joint meeting in Tokyo on February 19. At the meeting they adopted a new policy for their movement, calling for the government to prioritize the situation of Japanese abductees […]

Reopening the Abduction Case Files – Part One: Why Did North Korea Lie about Megumi’s Death?

This article originally appeared in the Sankei Shimbun morning edition, August 31, 2012. All ages and dates are counted from that date.   “I regret to inform you…”   That was how then-Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Shigeo Uemura began while speaking to Yokota Megumi’s father, Shigeru (79) and mother, Sakie (76), in a room at […]

U.S. Japan Cooperation Expected on Passage of Congressional Resolution on David Sneddon Disappearance

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution at the end of September directing the U.S. government to investigate the disappearance of a young American who is suspected to be a victim of North Korean abduction. This Congressional action is expected to lead to a new vigorous inquiry into Pyongyang’s criminal abduction of foreigners and […]