President Trump has written a letter of condolence to the widow of a prominent Japanese activist who died recently without ever seeing his daughter who was abducted by North Korea in 1977.
Yokota Megumi was 13 when she vanished on her way home from school in Niigata, in northwestern Japan, but it wasn’t until two decades later that it was revealed that the Hermit Kingdom was behind the abduction.
Her father, Yokota Shigeru, died June 5 at age 87.
He and his wife Sakie, along with several other families of Japanese nationals kidnapped by North Korea, formed a group in 1997 that has worked to raise awareness about the abductions, the Japan Times reported.
“The First Lady and I are saddened to learn of the loss of your husband Shigeru,” the president wrote Tuesday in a letter addressed to the widow.
“It was my great honor to meet you and your husband during my visit to Japan in 2017. I was moved by your unflinching determination to reunite with your daughter Megumi and to ensure that all families of abductees know the truth regarding the whereabouts of their loved ones,” Trump wrote.
“Thanks to the tireless advocacy of you and your husband, the North Korea abduction issue remains a primary focus for Japan and the United States. We join you and your sons, Takuya and Tetsuya, in continuing this important work to finally bring Megumi home.”
Sakie thanked Trump for his message and pledged to continue efforts to bring Megumi back, Japan’s NHK reported.
Japan claims that North Korea abducted at least 17 people to train agents in Japanese language and culture to spy on South Korea.
Pyongyang has confirmed that Megumi was abducted but has since alleged that she struggled from depression and died by suicide in 1994, according to UPI — but the family has never accepted that claim.
Trump raised the abductions issue during his summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in 2018 and 2019.