Concern in Japan and overseas has grown as testimony from abductees who have returned to Japan has indicated that there are people in North Korea from Thailand, Rumania, Lebanon, and other countries besides Japan who could also have been abducted.
In April 2006, DNA analysis conducted by the Government of Japan revealed a high probability that Mr. Kim Young-Nam, a Republic of Korea citizen abducted by North Korea, was married to Ms. Megumi Yokota, an abducted Japanese citizen. This discovery prompted family members of Japan and Republic of Korea abductees to travel between Japan and the Republic of Korea to meet with each other, strengthen cooperative ties, and work together in both countries on this issue.
North Korean abductees are called nabbuk-ja (persons abducted by North Korea) in the Republic of Korea. As of November 2007, according to public statements by the Government of the Republic of Korea, more than 80,000 Republic of Korea citizens were abducted by North Korea during the Korean War (1950-1953), with another over 3,000 Republic of Korea citizens abducted since the armistice. Of these cases, the safety and whereabouts of 480 abductees has still not been confirmed.
This situation has mobilized several groups in the Republic of Korea made up of families of abductees. These groups are actively interacting and collaborating with the families of Japanese abductees.
In Thailand, there is information indicating that Ms. Anocha Panjoy was abducted by North Korea in 1978.
Romanian officials also have information that Ms. Doina Bumbea was abducted from Rome, Italy by North Korea in 1978.
Members of the families of these two individuals and of Japanese abductees have met with each other in both countries, agreed to collaborate, and are working together on abductee rescue campaigns.
In April 2007, Japanese police authorities declared the case of a young sister and brother of North Korean nationality who went missing from Japan in 1973 (Ms. Ko Gyong-Mi and Mr. Ko Gang) to be a case of abduction by North Korea.
The Government of Japan maintains that abduction is a serious violation of human rights regardless of nationality, and at the same time, a violation of Japan’s national sovereignty. For this reason, the Government demands that North Korea allow these two people to return to Japan, the place from where they were taken, and that a full account also be given concerning this case.