This week, we cover the true story of North Korea’s abduction of Japanese civilians. Who was taken, and why? What do we know about their lives in the north? And how does their disappearance still affect the relationship between Japan and North Korea today?

Sources

A Committee for Human Rights in North Korea report on the abduction issue.

Cummings, Bruce. North Korea: Another Country.

Images

Hasuike Kaoru and Hasuike Yukiko on their return to Japan. Note the pins on their lapels; that pin is a marker of membership in the Korean Worker’s Party.

Yokota Sachie and Yokota Shigeru at a press conference with pictures of their daughter. From the Japan Times.

Yokota Megumi before her abduction and at some point in her life in North Korea. From the Japan Times.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and US President Donald Trump with the families of abductees, 2017. From the Nikkei Asian Review.

Kim Hyon-hui, one of many North Korean operatives trained in Japanese by the abductees.