List of Kidnapped Japanese

There are eight cases involving Japanese nationals that the Japanese government officially suspects of having been caused by North Korea, involving 11 people in total. However, the families of as many as 70 missing persons say they should also be on this list.

Hiroshi Kume, a 52-year-old guard, was allegedly kidnapped on Sept. 19, 1977, after he stayed at a coastal inn. A North Korean with a permanent residential status was later picked up by the police and said "a secret agent ordered me to pick any 52- or 53-year-old Japanese man in solitude ... and to hand him over to another agent." However, the Korean was not indicted because the police could not prove Kume went unwillingly.

Megumi Yokota, a 13-year-old junior high school girl, disappeared on her way home from school in the early evening on Nov. 15, 1977. At first, there were suspicions Yokota was kidnapped because she stumbled across North Korean agents. However, authorities subsequently said they suspect her kidnap was probably ordered.

(http://sukuu-kai.ram.ne.jp)

Yaeko Taguchi, allegedly disappeared after leaving her two infant children in a nursery in Tokyo in June 1978. Kim Hyong Hi, a North Korean terrorist who later defected, said Taguchi was called Lee Un Hae in North Korea and had taught her Japanese mannerisms in January 1988. However, Taguchi's brother and sister, who have been taking care of her children, kept silent on the issue fearing it could have a negative influence on the children. Police revealed the situation in 1991, but kept Taguchi's name private.

(http://sukuu-kai.ram.ne.jp)

(http://sukuu-kai.ram.ne.jp)

Yasushi Chimura, a 23-year-old carpenter, and Fukie Hamamoto, his 22-year-old fiancee, disappeared after leaving a restaurant on July 7, 1978. Chimura's car was found with the key still in the ignition parked beside an observatory overlooking the coast. Authorities said the couple was engaged nine days before and had no motive to disappear. A North Korean agent who later defected said she saw a Japanese man at their training camp who was adept at carpentry.

(http://sukuu-kai.ram.ne.jp)

(http://sukuu-kai.ram.ne.jp)

Kaoru Hasuike, a 20-year-old university student, and Yukiko Okudo, a 22-year-old cosmetician, disappeared after they met in a library in a coastal region, on the evening of July 31, 1978. Authorities said Hasuike had just finished his term paper and Okudo had gone for a cup of coffee. There are suspicions the couple was kidnapped in a forest near the coast and transported to a waiting boat.

(http://sukuu-kai.ram.ne.jp)

(http://sukuu-kai.ram.ne.jp)

Shuichi Ichikawa, a 23-year-old telecommunications worker, and Rumiko Masumoto, a 24-year-old clerk, met near the coast on Aug. 12, 1978. Two days later, Ichikawa's car was found at a beach campsite, locked without any trace of a burglary. Masumoto's bag containing a wallet, a camera and other belongings in the car were left intact. A North Korean agent who defected to South Korea said he had met and talked with Ichikawa at North Korea's Kim Jong-Il University of Politics and Military several times.

(http://sukuu-kai.ram.ne.jp)

Tadaaki Hara, a 49-year-old cook, is believed to have been kidnapped from a coastal area by North Korean agents, among them Shin Gwang Su, in June 1980. Hara used to work at a Chinese restaurant owned by a North Korean official. In 1985, Shin was arrested when he tried to enter South Korea with Hara's passport, and he was indicted and sent to prison until he was granted amnesty and sent back to North Korea in 2000.

(http://sukuu-kai.ram.ne.jp)

Keiko Arimoto, a 23-year-old exchange student, has not been heard from since she sent a letter to her parents from Copenhagen, Denmark in October 1983. Arimoto, who studied English in London, was scheduled to leave for Japan when she sent her family a telegram saying, "Found a job and delay returning to Japan." A Japanese woman who once lived in North Korea later testified that she had lured Arimoto to Pyongyang with a job offer.

Source: Japan's National Police Agency and the National Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea.

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