I was walking through Fukushima City when I saw this poster. I don’t know if those of you outside of Japan know who she is, but probably everyone in Japan recognizes her. Do you know?
The sign says, “Kanarazu torimodosu!” “By all means, return her!”
Surely all of you aware that North Korea has abducted foreigners around the world. This is Megumi Yokota, who was only thirteen years old when she was walking home from school IN JAPAN and was abducted by North Koreans and taken to North Korea. It happened here in Tohoku in Niigata Prefecture (near the western coast) in 1977.
This especially hits home because my husband is almost the same age as her and also from that same area. So really and truly, it could have been him. And she wasn’t the only one taken from that same general area and the same general time.
I was interested in this topic so I bought a book about it. It’s called The Invitation Only Zone.
The book was fascinating. There was a lot that I did not know. I was aware of Megumi Yokota, and also Hitomi Soga who married an American named Charles Robert Jenkins who had deserted the military and went willingly into North Korea.
I was not aware of the others. The book focuses on two Japanese couples, both who were abducted in the seventies when they were on the beach. And then of course, there are more, although nobody knows how many.
Is it still going on? The book suggests it as a possibility. I don’t know. I doubt anybody does. I have not heard though that it is still going on. It’s just a possibility.
Furthermore, I had heard only about the Japanese abductees. North Korea didn’t take only Japanese citizens. They abducted from various countries. Since North Korea won’t say exactly who they have abducted, we will never know exactly who was taken.
Like I said, I found the book fascinating, but also depressing. It’s just a very sad thing.
By the way, if you are wondering what happened to little Megumi Yokota… Well, she married a South Korean who had been abducted and together they had two kids. (The abductees were not allowed to marry North Koreans, which is why they all seem to marry one another.) According to the North Koreans, she suffered from depression and killed herself. However, there is no evidence of this and a lot of people think she is still alive–hence the posters.
I don’t think it is possible to know what happened to her. Maybe she killed herself (Depression? Sounds highly possible!) but then maybe she didn’t. North Korea lies about EVERYTHING so you never know when they are telling the truth.