It has been exactly one year since the father of a Japanese woman who was abducted by North Korea more than 40 years ago died without being able to meet his daughter again.
In an interview with NHK, his wife Yokota Sakie strongly urged the government to make additional efforts to quickly bring all the abductees back to Japan.
The Yokota's daughter Megumi was abducted in the city of Niigata, on the Sea of Japan coast, at the age of 13. She was on her way home from school.
Megumi would be turning 57 years old this October.
Together, the father Shigeru and mother Sakie spearheaded efforts to bring the abductees back home for decades. But he passed away last June at the age of 87, without ever reuniting with his daughter.
Sakie told NHK that she is most frustrated that Shigeru couldn't meet their daughter despite their efforts.
She also said she will not take his ashes to the family grave until Megumi returns home.
Sakie said, "I want to tell Megumi how hard her father worked to bring her home when she returns. I'll ask her to hug her father. I want to keep the ashes at home until the day that happens."
The families of the abductees are growing old and only a few of the parents are still alive.
Sakie said, "Parents and siblings of the abductees are aging and are growing weaker. They all want to be reunited with their loved ones as soon as possible. I want government officials to think about the abductees' issue seriously and act quickly."
Japan's chief cabinet secretary, who is also the minister in charge of the abduction issue, sent a message online.
Kato Katsunobu said, "The government will make the utmost effort to bring all the abductees home as soon as possible."
The Japanese government says at least 17 citizens were abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 80s. Five returned in 2002, but the remaining 12 are still unaccounted for.