S Korean abductee under house arrest in North:report
SEOUL, Apr 14: A South Korean believed to be the husband of a Japanese woman abducted decades ago by North Korea is under house arrest in the North along with the couple's daughter, Seoul's Yonhap news agency reported today.
Japan said earlier this week DNA evidence indicated that Kim Young-nam, thought to have been abducted by North Korean agents in 1978, was the husband of Megumi Yokota, herself kidnapped from Japan by North Korean agents the previous year.
Kim and the daughter were being detained at their home near Pyongyang and their contacts strictly controlled, Yonhap said, citing a group of South Koreans with relatives abducted by the North.
The group received the information from sources in North Korea, who said the two had been put under house arrest in January, Yonhap said.
Group officials were not immediately available for comment.
Pyongyang has said Yokota married a North Korean man in 1986 and gave birth to a daughter, who is now 18 and lives in the North. It also said Yokota committed suicide in 1994 while being treated for depression.
Tokyo has placed high priority on the abductee issue, making its resolution a condition for improving ties with Pyongyang. North Korea has admitted to abducting 13 Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s to help train its spies.
South Korea has tried to use quiet diplomacy to gather information about the more than 1,000 South Korean civilian abductees and prisoners captured during the 1950-1953 Korean War who are thought still to be alive in the North.
The two Koreas are due to hold ministerial-level meetings next week and several South Korean newspapers said it was high time for Seoul to increase pressure on Pyongyang on the issue of abductees and POWs.