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Wall Street Journal features Megumi Yokota in commentary.

NEW YORK, March 6 Kyodo

The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday published a commentary titled ''Kim the Kidnapper'' in an apparent reference to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il that featured the story of Megumi Yokota, a Japanese citizen abducted by North Korea in 1977.

The commentary comes at a time when Japanese negotiators will meet Wednesday with their North Korean counterparts for bilateral talks in Hanoi.

''Chief U.S. negotiator Christopher Hill is holding talks in New York with his North Korean counterpart this week. A good question for him to ask is, Where is Megumi?,'' it said, adding that North Korea has yet to provide a satisfactory account over Yokota's fate.

Under the Feb. 13 agreement between the six parties, the United States will begin the process of removing North Korea from the list of terror-sponsoring states. But the commentary said the abduction issue ''appears not to be high on the U.S. agenda these days.''

The commentary also mentioned 11 other Japanese believed to be kidnapped by North Korea, and said Tokyo is refusing to participate in the energy assistance to Pyongyang unless progress is made on the abduction issue.

The commentary said ''Megumi'' is a household name in Japan owning largely to the efforts of her parents.

''Her mother, Sakie, met with President Bush in the White House last year. At the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos in January, the Japanese government hosted a sushi reception and screening of ''Abduction,'' a documentary about her disappearance,'' it said.

''In recent years, Japan has reopened many of the missing-persons files from the era but the scent has grown cold. There are only 17 people on the official list of abductees -- the most recent was added in November -- but officials say privately that the victims may number in the 'hundreds,''' it said.

The commentary contrasted Japan's response to South Korea, which it said has 485 people on its list of abductees. South Korea's ''appeasement-minded government prefers not to talk about the kidnappings of its citizens,'' it said.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Mar 13, 2007
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