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DNA links abductees from Japan, S.Korea

Posted by tumicrobiology on April 7, 2006

TOKYO, April 7 (UPI) — A DNA test has shown the husband of a Japanese woman kidnapped by North Korea in the 1970s is a South Korean who also was abducted by the North.

North Korea had insisted that Megumi Yokota, a Japanese national kidnapped by North Korean agents in 1977 at age 13, married North Korean agent Kim Chol Jun in 1986 but committed suicide in 1994.

However, Japan has concluded that Kim is not North Korean, as claimed by Pyongyang, but an abducted South Korean, the JoongAng Ilbo reported Friday.

"After conducting DNA tests on family members of five abducted South Koreans, one matched the DNA of the daughter of Mr. Kim," Japanese officials said Thursday.

The Japanese government obtained DNA samples from Kim Hye Gyong, the daughter of Kim and Yokota, in 2002 during an interview in Pyongyang. Japan also collected DNA samples from the relatives of five South Korean men allegedly abducted by North Korea to see if any of them matched the DNA of Yokota's daughter.

The Japanese government reportedly is discussing with South Korea when they will make a formal announcement of their findings.

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