A schoolgirl snatched off the street A schoolgirl snatched off the street
Backstories

A schoolgirl snatched off the street

    NHK World
    Correspondent
    It was November 15, 1977, when North Korean agents abducted Yokota Megumi from a street near her school. She was just 13 years old.

    Yokota was on her way home from badminton practice at Yorii Junior High School in Niigata City. She was last seen leaving her friends at an intersection about 300 meters from the school's main gate.

    Megumi was last seen about 300 meters from her school

    Search uncovers no clues

    Police believed Yokota had fallen victim to a crime, and launched a major search to find her.

    Police issued a missing person poster for Yokota Megumi

    The search failed to uncover a single clue to her whereabouts.

    Yokota Megumi's parents Shigeru and Sakie made public pleas for help to find their daughter

    Shocking news from North Korea

    Two decades after Yokota disappeared, her parents were informed that she was alive in North Korea. The Japanese government confirmed the information.

    Pyongyang claims Yokota is dead

    During the groundbreaking Japan-North Korea Summit in 2002, North Korea admitted it had abducted Yokota. Officials claimed she had subsequently taken her own life.

    Irregularities in supporting documents submitted to the Japanese government raised suspicion that Yokota was still alive. Bones that North Korea presented as her remains in 2004 were shown by DNA analysis to be from another person.

    Yokota has a daughter

    It was revealed in 2002 that Yokota has a daughter named Kim Eun Gyong. A DNA test conducted in Japan confirmed that.

    Yokota Megumi's daughter Kim Eun Gyong

    Yokota's 58th birthday

    A photo of Yokota taken in North Korea

    45 years have passed since Yokota's abduction. Her 58th birthday was in October.

    Her father, Yokota Shigeru, campaigned for her return until he died in 2020 aged 87.

    Yokota Shigeru devoted half his life to campaigning for Japanese abductees, including his daughter Megumi
    Yokota Sakie

    Yokota's mother Sakie turned 86 this year. While her husband died before a family reunion could take place, people in Japan hope that Yokota Sakie's yearning to see her daughter once again might one day be fulfilled.