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Abducted: The Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea

Abducted – Four Stories, Four Lives, Episode 1: Just a Schoolgirl Taken by Martians

In this first episode, we focus on a 13-year-old girl abducted on her way home from school. What happened to her and why is the nation still reeling?



JAPAN Forward presents "Abducted, Four Stories, Four Lives." a new podcast series that investigates the abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea. Hosted by journalists Arielle Busetto and Agnes Tandler, these talks give listeners an insight into the lives of four different people who are forever changed by a series of terrible crimes. Their lives are later all linked together in unexpected ways. It is the first-ever podcast series dedicated to this topic. 

One was Megumi Yokota, an ordinary 13-year-old girl who was kidnapped on her way home from school. Her brother, Takuya Yokota, was only 9 years old when his sister suddenly disappeared. He speaks about the trauma that befell his family and the fight to bring Megumi back. Her case, like that of many other victims, remains unsolved to this very day.   

"My mother got very worried when evening came and Megumi had not returned," remembers Takuya when he spoke to us." So she took us and we walked together" Nobody could explain why and how Megumi vanished.

Nobody had an explanation for why and how Megumi vanished. After all, she was just a child from a normal family. Despite searching high and low there was no sign of Megumi for years. There was also no trace of her badminton racket or the sports bag she had taken to school that day "We thought she was taken by Martians," one of Megumi's schoolmates told us. 

Megumi Yokota before her abduction. (© The Yokota family)

Join the Conversation

Join the conversation in this first podcast episode as JAPAN Forward traces the events that unfolded in the search for Megumi. And follow the series, "Abducted, Four Stories, Four Lives" on Apple Podcast. The announcement will be made on our Facebook, Instagram and X account. Feel free to share any suggestions in our comment section below.


Author: Agnes Tandler and Arielle Busetto