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'Why can't we rescue her?': Megumi Yokota's mom asks on 40th anniv. of abduction

On the 40-year anniversary of Megumi Yokota's abduction by North Korean agents, her parents, Shigeru, left, and Sakie Yokota hold a press conference in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Nov. 15, 2017. (Mainichi)

KAWASAKI -- Forty years after Megumi Yokota was abducted from Niigata Prefecture by North Korean agents, her mother, 81-year-old Sakie Yokota asked at a press conference, "Why it is that she's in a country so close by and we still can't rescue her?"

Both Sakie and her husband, 85-year-old Shigeru, attended the press conference here in Kawasaki.

At the time of her abduction on Nov. 15, 1977, Megumi was a 13-year-old first-year student in junior high school. Asked about the time around her daughter's disappearance, Sakie told reporters, "It's something that I don't even want to think about." She continued, "Not knowing what had happened, we went searching for her everywhere, calling out her name, holding photos of her."

The Yokotas reported their daughter missing to police, but until it emerged in 1997 that Megumi had possibly been abducted by North Korean agents, the Yokotas had no clue where she was. "It was so distressing," Sakie said. She expressed gratitude for the support she and her husband have received in the 20 years since then, but added, "We just want Megumi to come back to us."

Now that 40 years have passed since Megumi's abduction, both her parents are in their 80s. Sakie reiterated her family's desire for Megumi to be rescued as soon as possible. "We just want to see her and call her 'Megumi-chan' while we're still healthy."

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