Ex-abductee resumes campaign for abduction victims

A former Japanese abductee, who returned from North Korea nearly two decades ago, has resumed campaigning for the return of the other abduction victims.

Soga Hitomi was abducted by North Korean agents in 1978 with her mother, Miyoshi. Soga returned to Japan in 2002, but the whereabouts of her mother are still unknown.

For the first time in two years, Soga collected signatures on Sunday at a venue in Niigata Prefecture's Sado City, her home town. She usually campaigns for the immediate rescue of all the abductees every year. But last year she was forced to suspend her activities, due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Soga said she was frustrated, as she was prevented from collecting signatures for a long time.

She said she wants to remind people across Japan to never forget about the issue and to never forgive North Korea for carrying out the abductions. Soga added that she hopes talks between Japan and North Korea can be held as soon as possible.

She also shared a memory about Yokota Shigeru. Yokota died last year, after fighting for decades for the return of his daughter Megumi, who was abducted by North Korean agents.

Soga said she was asked by Yokota to sing a song that she used to sing with Megumi in North Korea. She said she sang the nursery rhyme, Momiji, for him. Soga said Yokota listened attentively to her singing with a warm smile on his face.

She then reiterated her call for the resolution of the abduction issue. She added that time is running out, as the family members of the abductees are aging.