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North Korea: Abducted woman has returned from Japan

The lack of information on the repatriated abductee and the timing of the announcement indicate Pyongyang is trying to gain leverage in abduction talks with Tokyo.

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea: Abducted woman has returned from Japan
Japan Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said last week North Korea's lack of cooperation on the issue of abductions is "regrettable," more than a year after Tokyo and Pyongyang agreed to reopen investigations into the kidnappings. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- North Korea said Tuesday a North Korean woman who was kidnapped to Japan has returned – an announcement that comes amid stalled talks between Tokyo and Pyongyang on the whereabouts of abducted Japanese citizens.

North Korea's state-controlled media outlet KCNA said, "Overseas North Korean national Do Yong Suk, who was kidnapped to Japan, has returned to the bosom of the fatherland and held a dramatic family reunion."

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South Korean news network YTN reported the announcement from KCNA said the information was from a "relevant agency" but did not specify when or where the kidnapping took place.

The lack of information on the repatriated abductee and the timing of the announcement indicate Pyongyang is trying to gain leverage in abduction talks with Tokyo, Yonhap reported.

Japan has experienced numerous setbacks in talks with North Korea – most recently at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Kuala Lumpur.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida met with North Korea's Ri Su Yong on the sidelines regarding North Korea's investigations into the whereabouts of Japanese abductees, Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

North Korea has not provided Japan with any updates, and Kishida had said the lack of action was "regrettable." Tokyo on numerous occasions has requested Pyongyang return the abductees.

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North Korea had agreed to reopen investigations into the kidnapping in May 2014, 12 years after it admitted to the abductions of 13 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and '80s.

In 2002, five abductees and their children were allowed to return to Japan.

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