Govt decides not to recognize Terakoshi, uncles as abductees

Source: Kyodo


The government has decided not to recognize Takeshi Terakoshi, a Japanese who went missing while fishing in the Sea of Japan in the early 1960s and has since been living in North Korea, and his two uncles as victims of abduction by North Korea, a supporter of abductees’ relatives said Sunday.

The government conveyed its decision to the family of Shoji Terakoshi—one of the uncles—on Saturday night, Tsutomu Nishioka, chairman of a group that supports the families of Japanese abduction victims, said at a rally in Tokyo.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said last December in a meeting with families of Japanese abductees that the government will consider whether to recognize the three men, including Shoji’s younger brother Sotoo, as abduction victims.

Mitsuo Uchida, a 57-year-old son of Shoji said at Sunday’s event, ‘‘The government said it cannot recognize them because there is no proof that they were abducted. I am disappointed.’‘

Takeshi Terakoshi, 61, a native of Ishikawa Prefecture and now a resident of Pyongyang, has said he and his two uncles were rescued by North Korean fishermen when the fishing boat they were aboard was wrecked in the Sea of Japan in May 1963.

But the families of his uncles, who are said to have died, were seeking recognition by the government that they were abducted to North Korea.

Takeshi Terakoshi’s parents learned their son was alive in January 1987 from a letter they received from one of his uncles in North Korea. Terakoshi visited Japan in October 2002 for the first time since his disappearance 39 years earlier.

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