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Ex-NKorean spy meets relatives of Japan abductee

 Former North Korean spy Kim Hyon-hui cries as she meets Shigeo Iizuka and Koichiro Iizuka, not pictured, family members of Yaeko Taguchi who was abdu...
 Kim Hyon-hui, right, a former North Korean agent convicted of planting a bomb on a South Korean airliner in 1987, is hugged by Koichiro Iizuka, son o...
 A teary Kim Hyon-hui, right, a former North Korean agent convicted of planting a bomb on a South Korean airliner in 1987, is consoled by Koichiro Iiz...

South Korea North Korea Japan Abduction

Former North Korean spy Kim Hyon-hui cries as she meets Shigeo Iizuka and Koichiro Iizuka, not pictured, family members of Yaeko Taguchi who was abdu...

South Korea North Korea Japan Abduction

Kim Hyon-hui, right, a former North Korean agent convicted of planting a bomb on a South Korean airliner in 1987, is hugged by Koichiro Iizuka, son o...

South Korea North Korea Japan Abduction

A teary Kim Hyon-hui, right, a former North Korean agent convicted of planting a bomb on a South Korean airliner in 1987, is consoled by Koichiro Iiz...

A tearful former North Korean agent met Wednesday with relatives of a Japanese woman abducted to the North decades ago to offer information about the their late kin, saying she was forced to help train spies about Japanese culture.
Kim Hyon-hui _ convicted of bombing a Korean Air jet in a 1987 act of sabotage that killed all 115 people aboard _ claims her spy training including coaching on Japanese language and culture by Yaeko Taguchi, who vanished in Tokyo in 1978.
In 2002, North Korea admitted to abducting Taguchi and 12 other Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s to train spies. The North allowed five of them to return to Japan, saying the other eight victims, including Taguchi, had died.
Tokyo, however, has demanded proof of their deaths and an investigation into other suspected kidnappings.
Wednesday's emotional meeting was arranged after Kim recently expressed her desire to see Taguchi's brother and son to let them know how she lived in the North after her abduction.
Kim hugged Taguchi's now 32-year-old son, Koichiro Iizuka, who was 1-year-old when his mother was abducted. He was later adopted by Shigeo lizuka, Taguchi's now 70-year-old brother.
Kim, 47, was sentenced to death in South Korea for the bombing but was later pardoned on the grounds that she was duped by the North's communist regime trying to disrupt the 1988 Seoul Olympics and that she repented her crime.
Kim has told investigators that she and a male North Korean agent, posing as a Japanese father and daughter, boarded Korean Air Flight 858 from Baghdad to Seoul on Nov. 28, 1987. They planted a time-bomb on the plane after getting off in Abu Dhabi, a refueling stop.
The next day, the Boeing 707 plane exploded over the Andaman Sea near Burma, now Myanmar, according to a South Korean investigation.
Kim and her accomplice were arrested two days later in Bahrain, where they were trying to get a flight to Rome. The pair attempted to kill themselves by taking cyanide concealed in cigarette filters. The man died, but Kim recovered and was extradited to Seoul.
Kim has said she was ordered to bomb the plane by Kim Jong Il, the country's current leader but then the heir of national founder Kim Il Sung. The younger Kim took power following his father's death in 1994.
North Korea has denied involvement in the bombing but the incident prompted the United States to include the country in its list of terrorism-sponsoring countries.
The terrorism black list had been a key thorn in ties between the two countries, until the U.S. delisted the North last year to help salvage an international deal on the North's nuclear disarmament.


Updated : 2021-05-09 01:45 GMT+08:00