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Originally published Sunday, March 16, 2014 at 2:21 PM

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Parents of Japan abductee meet NKorean grandchild

The parents of a Japanese woman abducted by North Korea in 1977 have met their Korean-born granddaughter for the first time.


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TOKYO —

The parents of a Japanese woman abducted by North Korea in 1977 have met their Korean-born granddaughter for the first time.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry confirmed Sunday that Shigeru Yokota and his wife, Sakie, spent time with Kim Un Kyong over several days last week in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Kim is 26 years old, Japanese media said.

The meeting could be a small step toward resuming official government talks between Japan and North Korea.

Kim's mother, Megumi Yokota, was kidnapped in Japan when she was 13. She is believed to have married a South Korean man, Kim Young-nam, who also was abducted by North Korea.

North Korea says Yokota has died, but Japan says North Korea has yet to provide definitive proof.

North Korea abducted at least 17 Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s, according to Japan. Five were allowed to return in 2002.

Japan and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations, and have not had official talks since November 2012.

Foreign ministry officials from both countries held informal talks in China earlier this month on the sidelines of a meeting between the North Korean and Japanese Red Cross societies.

At those talks, the two countries agreed to the meeting between the Yokotas and their granddaughter, Japanese media reported.

Officials from the two foreign ministries are expected to talk again this week at a follow-up meeting of the Red Cross societies in China.



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