An association started by the family of Megumi Yokota who was abducted by North Korea, is preparing to present a petition calling for the rescue of her and other abductees to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The association said Friday it had received from Saitama Gov Kiyoshi Ueda a petition containing 356,192 signatures, taking the total number of signatures to over 10 million. The association is planning to hand the petition to Abe at a public gathering on Saturday.
Yokota’s parents are still campaigning for her return, despite persistent claims that she committed suicide as the result of depression after being abducted and taken to North Korea in 1977. However, her death was later disputed by a North Korean defector in 2011. Yokota was one of at least 17 Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The North Korean government admitted to kidnapping Yokota 20 years after her initial disappearance. Yokota’s parents and others in Japan refuse to believe reports of her death and a controversial DNA test on her cremated remains was inconclusive. Her parents believe their daughter, who would now be 49 years old, is still alive in North Korea and and they and relatives of other abductees have been collecting signatures as part of a public campaign seeking their return to Japan.