44 years since Yokota Megumi's abduction

Members of the family of a Japanese woman abducted to North Korea 44 years ago have made a fresh appeal to Japan's government to take concrete steps to bring back all the abductees.

The family of Yokota Megumi spoke at an event in the city of Niigata, on the Japan Sea coast, on Sunday.

Yokota was abducted by North Korean agents on November 15, 1977, while on her way home from junior high school. Her 57th birthday was last month.

Her mother, Sakie, took part via video link. She said her daughter must be crying every day, wondering why she has not been rescued.

Sakie noted that most of the abductees' parents have passed away and there are only two of them left. She called on the government to work out a solution.

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has expressed his determination to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un without pre-set conditions.

But Megumi's younger brother, Tetsuya, said the North is not coming to the negotiation table as it insists that the matter has been settled.

Tetsuya urged the Japanese government to use all possible means to achieve a breakthrough.

Soga Hitomi also attended the event. She was abducted in Niigata Prefecture along with her mother Miyoshi in 1978. Soga was repatriated in 2002.

Soga said her mother turns 90 this year, and she has not seen her for more than 40 years. Soga called for support to bring back the abductees, saying she cannot wait any longer.

Yokota Tetsuya said after the event that the victims' family members are aging, and he sincerely hopes the abductees will soon be reunited with their loved ones.