The mother of a Japanese woman abducted by North Korea spoke to NHK about the decades of suffering her family has endured and urged the government to bring home all the abductees to be reunited with their families.
Friday marks 42 years since Megumi Yokota was abducted by North Korean agents on her way home from school in Niigata City, on the Sea of Japan.
Megumi was taken on November 15, 1977, at the age of 13. She was in her first year of junior high school.
She turned 55 last month.
Her mother, Sakie Yokota who 's 83, says she wonders what the Japanese state has been doing all these years.
She says the families have been in pain every moment.
She says they are struggling not to cry or succumb to the pain, and to find the energy to keep going.
Megumi's father Shigeru turned 87 on Thursday. He has been hospitalized since last year.
Sakie says her husband looks at Megumi's photograph every day. She says that when Megumi's younger brother tells him that he's got to persevere and wait for Megumi, her husband says he knows this.
Sakie urged North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to allow all abductees to return home. She says the decision will bring great joy to the abductees' families, and peace to North Korea. She hopes to see negotiations that can make people genuinely want to support North Korea and ultimately make everyone happy.
The Japanese government has identified 17 people as abductees. They were taken to North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s. Five of them have returned to Japan.
Officials say they cannot rule out the possibility that hundreds of others may have also been abducted by the North.