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Abducted: The Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea

Abducted – Four Stories, Four Lives, Episode 3: Something Strange Along the Sea of Japan

Journalist Masami Abe was one of the first to link odd disappearances along the coast of Japan to young people abducted to North Korea. Here is the backstory.



They were ordinary people abducted from Japan by North Korea. Like 13-year-old Megumi Yokota in episode 1. And the college student Kaoru Hasuike, who tells the story of his kidnapping in episode 2. Journalist Masami Abe was one of the first to look into the mysterious disappearances of young Japanese near beaches in Japan and link them back to North Korea. But because the crimes and their motives were so bizarre, it took two decades before his story finally gained traction. In this episode, Masami discusses a series of coincidences that finally brought the abduction cases to light.

JAPAN Forward presents Episode 3 of "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. 

Join the Conversation

Join the conversation in this third 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. Also, feel free to share any suggestions in our comment section below.

Masami Abe's January 7, 1980 Sankei Shimbun article reported on the case of Yasushi Chimura and the "Avec" abductions (left). Also on the right, Abe's February 3, 1991 front page article reported on the abduction of Megumi Yokota.

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

Listen to Episode 2: Abducted – Four Stories, Four Lives, Episode 2:  Inside the Black Box


Learn more about the abductions of Japanese and also other foreigners through JAPAN Forward's special coverage of the issue.

Author: Agnes Tandler and Arielle Busetto