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Ex-ministry official may have sent Hamamotos abusive letter.

OBAMA, Japan, Nov. 22 Kyodo

The family of Fukie Chimura, one of five Japanese abducted to North Korea in 1978 and now visiting Japan, has received a letter criticizing the behavior of the abductees and their families sent by the ''union of Foreign Ministry officials,'' her brother Yuko Hamamoto said Friday.

According to the 73-year-old brother, the Hamamotos in Obama in Fukui Prefecture received the letter around Wednesday along with a copy of a newspaper editorial saying the five must return to the North and criticizing the abductees' families for disregarding the opinions of their relatives about a permanent return.

This is the second time the family received such a letter, as the first letter came about a month earlier, the brother said, adding that the handwriting on the two letters was identical and both were postmarked in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture.

Similar letters sent under the union's name were also received by the families of other abductees -- Kaoru Hasuike in Niigata Prefecture and the family of Chimura's husband in Fukui Prefecture.

The father of Yasushi Chimura, Tamotsu, said, ''It was downright offensive. I'm going to ask police to investigate the case.''

The brother of Kaoru Hasuike on Thursday said his family received a letter on Wednesday claiming that as the five have not agreed on their permanent return, the families must respect their wishes.

The Foreign Ministry said Thursday it and its union have nothing to do with the case, saying the letters were likely sent by a former ministry official who retired in 1999.

The ministry has confirmed the former official gave a similar letter to an official in the ministry this month.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Nov 25, 2002
Previous Article:Koreans seek end to harassment, want better media coverage.
Next Article:Talks with N. Korea on ties, abductees can be separate: Abe.

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