Japanese abductee's siblings petition for his return from North Korea

Siblings of a man abducted and taken to North Korea decades ago are petitioning the Japanese government to win the return of all such kidnap victims.

Saito Fumiyo and Matsuki Nobuhiro helped collect signatures in Kumamoto City Thursday. It was the 71st birthday of their brother Matsuki Kaoru.
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They said the abductees' repatriation must take place soon because their relatives need to reunite with them before they are too old.

The Japanese government says at least 17 of its citizens were abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 80s. Five returned to Japan in 2002, but 12 remain unaccounted for.

Matsuki is from the Japanese city of Kumamoto. He was abducted in 1980 at the age of 26, when he was studying in Spain.

The siblings spoke through a loudspeaker and distributed leaflets while asking passersby to sign their petition in Kumamoto.

Saito Fumiyo said she wants the Japanese government to seriously work on the issue as relatives of the remaining abductees are aging. She said she very much wants to see her brother Kaoru again.

Matsuki Nobuhiro said that if the situation remains unchanged, all parents of the remaining abductees will die before they can be reunited with their loved ones. He urged the government to produce results.

Matsuki Kaoru's mother, Sunayo, passed away in 2014 at the age of 92 before she could be reunited with her abducted son. Only two parents of the officially recognized abductees are alive.

A woman who gave her signature to the petition campaign said she hopes the remaining abductees will come back to Japan while their relatives are alive and well.