Abe Mourns Death of Father of Abductee Megumi Yokota


Tokyo, June 5 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday expressed regret over the passing the same day of Shigeru Yokota, father of Megumi Yokota, who was abducted to North Korea in 1977 at the age of 13.

"It is gut-wrenching," Abe told reporters in front of his private residence in Tokyo. "I am full of sincere regret" for having been unable to realize the homecoming of Megumi and other Japanese people abducted to the reclusive state. "We must continue to act decisively without losing any opportunities to achieve the return of abduction victims," Abe said.

"I fought together for a very long time with Shigeru," the prime minister added. "I still remember tears flowing from his eyes when he was taking photographs" of five abduction victims that returned to Japan in 2002.

"I did all I could so that the day would come when he could hug his daughter, but I could not achieve that as prime minister," Abe said.

With Shigeru Yokota seen as an iconic figure of the abduction issue, his death has sent shock waves across the Abe administration, for which sorting it out is one of the most important challenges. In February, Kayoko Arimoto, mother of Keiko Arimoto, another abductee, died at the age of 94.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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