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Kim Young Nam barred from speaking freely: Yokota's father.

TOKYO, July 6 Kyodo

Kim Young Nam, believed to be a South Korean abductee who was married to Japanese abductee Megumi Yokota, was likely barred from speaking freely to Japanese reporters in Pyongyang on Thursday, Megumi's father Shigeru Yokota said.

''He was likely restricted in terms of what he can say,'' Yokota said in reference to Kim's first news conference with Japanese reporters, adding that when Kim met with South Korean reporters last week, ''It looked as if he was reading a script.''

Referring to Kim's remarks that he doesn't remember telling his sister, with whom he was reunited last week for the first time in 28 years, that Megumi was involved in a car accident when she was 3 years old, Yokota said, ''There may have been some discrepancies as we've heard this by word of mouth.''

Megumi's mother, Sakie Yokota, had denied after the report that she was in a car accident, raising doubts about the authenticity of Kim's account.

Megumi, who was abducted from Japan's Niigata Prefecture at age 13 in 1977, is one of 13 Japanese nationals that North Korea has admitted to abducting.

While North Korea says Yokota killed herself while being treated for depression, her family and the Japanese government dispute the claim.

In reference to Kim's remarks that Megumi died on April 13, 1994, not in 1993 as he earlier said in a letter he sent to Megumi's parents, Yokota said, ''I doubt this as it seems as if he is trying to make his comments match the claims made by North Korea.''

Referring to Kim's remarks that his marriage with Megumi was a happy one, Yokota said, ''The content of the news conference was likely changed this time to topics about family life using affectionate expressions as the last one (with South Korean reporters) drew antipathy from the Japanese.''

As for the claim that Megumi's remains were cremated in the spring of 1997, Yokota said, ''It coincides with the timing that Megumi's abduction was revealed. There may have been the intention since that point to burn the remains of someone else and make them as if they were those of Megumi.''

Cremated ashes that North Korea handed to Japan saying they were of Yokota are one of the main points of contention between the two countries. Japan says DNA tests it conducted show the ashes were not Yokota's but were of two different people.

As for the reason why Kim and Megumi's daughter Eun Gyong (Hye Gyong) does not speak about her mother, Yokota said, ''It is probably because she is not dead.''

Referring to Kim and Eun Gyong's call for Megumi's parents to visit Pyongyang, Yokota said, ''My feelings of wanting to meet them are very strong, but I would like to refrain from doing that until things about Megumi become clear.''

Kim said Megumi's parents should visit Pyongyang if they want to hear what happened to their daughter from him, while Eun Gyong also called on her grandparents to visit Pyongyang.

Kim is counted as one of at least 485 South Koreans whom Seoul believes were abducted by North Korea, but Kim himself has denied being kidnapped, saying he was rescued by North Koreans after drifting off on a boat.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Jul 10, 2006
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