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Former North Korean abductees lament lack of progress in 15 years

Jiji Press

Former aductees Yasushi Chimura, right, and his wife Fukie, talk at a press conference in Obama, Fukui Prefecture, on Monday.

Jiji Press OBAMA, Fukui (Jiji Press) — Former aductee Yasushi Chimura, who returned from North Korea in October 2002, lamented on Monday the lack of progress in efforts to bring home all remaining abduction victims.

“It really breaks my heart to think about the lack of progress toward the resolution of the abduction issue,” Chimura, 62, told a news conference in Obama, Fukui Prefecture. “We are leading peaceful lives but cannot feel fully comfortable.”

Chimura and his 62-year-old wife, Fukie, spoke to the press ahead of the 15th anniversary on Sunday of their return to Japan, along with three other abduction victims. The couple were abducted by North Korean agents from a park in Obama in July 1978.

Other than the five, none on the Japanese government’s official list of 17 abduction victims has since been allowed to return home.

According to Chimura, his three children, who were brought to Japan in May 2004, are leading independent lives after finding jobs at local companies.

“My biggest concern was whether my children could get accustomed to life in Japan and continue to live here, but they are working hard at their companies,” he said.

Chimura said he hopes that the government will hold talks with North Korea behind closed doors while tightening sanctions against the reclusive state for its nuclear and missile tests.

Earlier on Monday, a rally demanding the rescue of remaining Japanese abduction victims in North Korea was held in Obama, bringing together about 800 participants.

Shigeo Iizuka, 79-year-old leader of the Association of Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea, raised a picture of his younger sister, Yaeko Taguchi, who was abducted in 1978 at age 22.

“I feel so sorry for her that I can’t stare at it. She is saying, ‘Help me soon, my brother,’” Iizuka said.

The participants included Hitomi Soga, 58, from Sado, Niigata Prefecture, who returned home with the Chimuras. “Time is running out for both people who dream of returning to Japan and those in Japan waiting for them,” Soga said.Speech

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