July 06, 2006 20:56
Kim Young-nam, who is presumed to have been abducted by North Korea in 1978, on Thursday pleaded ignorance about whether his late wife, the famous Japanese abduction victim Megumi Yokota, was also kidnapped. "Since I work for a special organization, there are special rules that I have to keep, so the question of whether Megumi Yokota was kidnapped was not asked," Kim was quoted by Japan’s Kyodo news agency in Pyongyang as telling Japanese reporters. Kim said his marriage to Yokota, who after being abducted at the age of 13 became a symbol in her home country of the North’s bizarre kidnap policy, was "happy." Kim was accompanied at the meeting by his daughter with Yokota, 18-year-old Eun-gyong.
Kim recalled Megumi, whom he first met when he was 22, as “sweet and gentle.” "Six months after we started meeting so I could learn Japanese, I proposed, and we were married in August 1986. I was happy." North Korea says she committed suicide in 1994.
Kim recalled that Yokota cooked Japanese food for him and spoke about her family, saying her father was a banker. When Megumi told her mother it would be nice to have a younger sibling, her mother had twins, Kim remembered his wife telling him. But Kim said he never asked Yokota how she ended up in North Korea, and the subject never came up between them. "When Eun-gyong was born, Megumi was delighted and put her heart and soul into raising her," he said. "Megumi was very adept at Korean, and in our married life we almost always spoke Korean."
When Eun-gyong was asked why she did not discuss her mother when she met her grandmother Choi Gye-wol and aunt at a reunion event in Mt.Kumgang last month, she answered, "I'm no longer a child." She added it makes her father sad when she talks about her mother, “and I also feel sorry to my adoptive mother." Asked for a message for her grandfather Shigeru Yokota and other family in Japan, she said, "Their granddaughter is living really well. If they really want to see me, they should come here."
Kim chimed in, "If we go to Japan, the issue will get complicated."
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