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Abductee DNA Test Released

Posted April. 12, 2006 02:59,   


DNA tests results show that the husband of Megumi Yokota, the Japanese national who was kidnapped by North Korea when she was 13, was possibly Kim Young-nam, a South Korean who was kidnapped 30 years ago when he was only a high school student.

Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs officially announced on April 11 that tests performed on the DNA of Kim Hye-kyung (aged 18), the daughter of Yokota, and Kim Young-nam’s family show that there is a high possibility that Yokota and the Kim’s are related. Officials explained that they had requested the test to two universities, including Kanagawa Dental College, and found such results.

Director-General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs of Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Kenichiro Sasae strongly demanded that Kim Gye Gwan, North Korean Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is in Japan to participate in The Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD), to show more interest in the North Korean kidnappings.

Director-General Sasae also notified South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Chun Young-woo, who is also participating in the meetings, of the test results and asked for South Korea’s cooperation on the kidnapping issue.

The Japanese government requested DNA samples of Yokota’s husband Kim Chul-jun early this year when sources cited that Kim Chul-jun might have been a South Korean kidnapped by the North. North Korea denied the request, saying that Kim was a special agent.

South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade issued a statement yesterday that it will receive the DNA results and samples from the Japanese government in short time and execute their own experiments to determine the results.

Officials of the ministry stated that they would carry out appropriate measures if they get the same results, but did not elaborate what the measures will be.

Yokota was found missing in Niigata Prefecture, Japan in 1977 and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il acknowledged during the 2002 summit meeting between North Korea and Japan that the North had kidnapped her.

North Korea announced that she married Kim Chul-jun in 1986, had a daughter the next year, and committed suicide in 1994.

Kwang-Am Cheon Jong-Koo Yoon iam@donga.com jkmas@donga.com