Tetsuya Yokota, the brother of the Japanese girl who was abducted to North Korea four decades ago, has called Kim Jong Un a 'foolish leader'. Yokota made this remark at a press conference in which he appealed for the safe return of his sister Megumi Yokota from North Korea. He also called for the return of all abducted citizens, NHK and Sankei Shimbun reported.
Yokota's remarks come just days after the death of his father Shigeru Yokota, who died longing to see his abducted daughter. This isn't the first time that he has criticized Kim Jong Un for not taking steps for the return of abducted Japanese citizens.
Megumi's Family Condemns Kim Jong Un
"I think [Kim Jong Un] is a foolish leader," Yokota said at the press conference. He also mentioned that there are elderly people who are not in the best of their health and should be allowed to return to Japan at the earliest.
Megumi was abducted to North Korea in 1977. She was 13 years old and vanished from her hometown in northwest Japan's Niigata while returning from school. However, it wasn't until two decades that it was accepted by North Korea that it had abducted the teenage girl. Since then Megumi's family has been appealing for the return of their daughter but North Korea has turned a deaf ear to their requests. "We hope there are concrete results in order to prevent the same things from happening again," Tetsuya said.
No End to a Long Fight
Yokota and his twin brother, Takuya, have been long fighting for the cause of Japanese families dealing with abduction issues in North Korea. Their mother Sakie Yokota too has been an active member of the movement. Their father Shigeru, who was an employee of the Bank of Japan at the time of the abduction of Megumi, died last week at the age of 87 without even getting a chance to reunite with his daughter. "Father deeply cherished our sister," said Takuya, adding: "It is unbearable to think of how much he wanted to see her."
Although North Korea acknowledged Megumi's abduction it reportedly never took any initiative for her safe return to her homeland. Two decades ago North Korea had confirmed that Megumi had married Kim Young-nam, a South Korean abductee, and had a daughter together. However, North Korea also claimed that Megumi suffered from depression for years and committed suicide in 1994.
Over the years, Japan has claimed that North Korea abducted 17 citizens to train their intelligence agents in Japanese language and culture. Even Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last year said that the return of abducted Japanese citizens was a top priority for the country but little has been done since then.