Tuesday, 10 February, 2009

Japan abductee's family to meet ex-NKorea spy

February 10, 2009
SEOUL (AFP) — The family of a Japanese woman abducted by North Korea in 1978 will meet a former Pyongyang spy in a bid to clear up the mystery over what happened to her, South Korea's foreign minister said Wednesday.

"The meeting will probably take place in the near future," minister Yu Myung-Hwan told a press conference, adding details are still being worked out.

He was speaking after talks with his Japanese counterpart Hirofumi Nakasone.

Japan is pressing North Korea to give details about the fate of Yaeko Taguchi and other Japanese kidnapped by the communist state in the Cold War era.

The former spy, Kim Hyun-Hee, was sentenced to death by Seoul for blowing up a South Korean airliner in 1987 but later pardoned. She lives in South Korea and has renounced her homeland's regime.

Kim has told local media she wants to meet Taguchi's relatives and the Tokyo government has also been seeking a meeting.

The North has said Taguchi, who was 22 when she was abducted, died in a car crash in July 1986. But Kim, who took Japanese lessons from Taguchi, said she was alive until at least 1987.

Japan has refused to provide aid to North Korea under a six-nation denuclearisation deal until it provides answers about the abductions.

North Korea admitted in 2002 to some kidnappings and allowed five victims to go home, but Japan contends that several more are being kept under wraps.

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