46 years since Yokota Megumi was abducted by N.Korea

Wednesday marks 46 years since a 13-year-old junior high school girl was kidnapped by North Korean agents.

Yokota Megumi was abducted in Niigata City on the Sea of Japan coast while on her way home from school on November 15, 1977.

Her mother Sakie told NHK on Tuesday that she has given speeches and collected signatures across the country to rescue Megumi.

She said she has also asked current and previous prime ministers for help, but she cannot help wondering why the issue has made so little progress.

The mother said she is filled with frustration, despair and sadness.

Sakie urged the government to take determined steps and hold a summit with North Korea as soon as possible to bring back all the victims.

Japan's government says North Korean agents abducted at least 17 citizens in the 1970s and 1980s. Five returned in 2002, but the other 12 remain unaccounted for.

On Tuesday, Hasuike Kaoru, who returned to Japan 21 years ago after being abducted by the North in 1978, delivered a speech in Niigata City.

He noted that improving Japan-North Korea ties is impossible without the North returning abductees while the generation that comprises the parents of the victims, including Sakie, is still alive.

Hasuike stressed the need to convey a message to Pyongyang that time is running out not only for Japan but also for North Korea.

He urged the Japanese government to gather information on what the North wants and clarify Japan's position in order to realize a bilateral summit.

Hasuike also called on the government to develop a channel of communication with Pyongyang.