On November 15, 1977, Megumi Yokota was abducted by the North Korean secret service. The girl became the emblematic figure of the dozens, if not hundreds, of Japanese kidnapped by Pyongyang in the 1970s and 1980s.
With our correspondent in Tokyo, Bruno Duval
In Japan, this Friday is synonymous with sadness and anger. For, 42 years ago, on November 15, 1977, a girl named Megumi Yokota was kidnapped by North Korea, who then forced her to work for her secret service: she had to learn the language and culture Japanese agents to North Korean elite agents who were destined to conduct espionage missions in the Japanese archipelago.
Takuya Yokota was only 9 years old when her older sister was abducted. But he remembers very well that day. " Megumi was kidnapped at the age of 13. One evening, after school, she was thrown into the hold of a boat that took her to North Korea. She was the sun of our family. It's been 42 years since Pyongyang deprived us of this sun. It is inadmissible, he grieves. My parents are getting older. Their health is deteriorating. If they died without seeing their daughter again, it would be a tragedy. For all the kidnapped Japanese whose parents are getting older, there is not a minute to lose. "
The Japanese police recorded 881 suspicious deaths between 1977 and 1983 that may have been due to this type of abduction.
More than twenty years in the North Korean secret service
Since then, only five of these kidnapped Japanese have been released. Like Kaoru Hasuike who was kidnapped in 1978, one summer evening, while he was at the beach. He had to work for 24 years for the North Korean intelligence services. " During all these years that I had to spend in North Korea, not a day I felt free, not one," he says. It was terrible. I was constantly watched. For example, as soon as I left home, even just to go to the local store, two agents escorted me back home. "
Kaoru Hasuike was released in 2002. Since then, North Korea has not released any kidnapped Japanese.