How North Korea confessed and the abduction issue unfolded

During the 1970s and 1980s, a string of strange cases occurred in which Japanese citizens disappeared in unnatural circumstances.

In many of these cases, subsequent investigations by the Japanese authorities and testimonies by former North Korean agents gradually revealed that they were most likely to be acts of abduction by North Korea.

From 1991, the GoJ took every opportunity to raise this issue but North Korea continued to dismiss any such allegations until the Japan-DPRK summit of September 2002 in which North Korea leader Kim Jong-Il admitted to the abductions, offered an apology and promised to prevent any such recurrence.

To this day, however, the abduction issue still remains unresolved as North Korea continues to fail to provide a convincing account of the whereabouts of the abductees with the exception of 5 citizens who returned to Japan. Currently, the GoJ currently identifies 17 Japanese citizens ( > click on individual cases to the right) and is continuing its investigations as there are other cases which cannot be ruled out as cases of abduction by North Korea.

Furthermore, in addition to the increasing support and awareness on the importance of resolving this issue in the international community, there are also developments which have revealed that victims of North Korean abductions are not restricted to Japan alone.

[ Identified thus far ]



Oct. 21st

Nov. 15th



July 7th

July 31th

August 12th

August 12th




Why did North Korea commit such atrocities?

In the 2002 Japan-DPRK summit, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il stated that the abductions were committed for the following reasons.

" to enable Japanese language training in special agencies and for agents to obtain false identities to infiltrate "the South". "

From this statement and others, it is believed that North Korea committed this unprecedented act of state sponsored crime for the following reasons:

  1. Acquiring Japanese identities for the use of North Korean agents.
  2. Coercing the victims into teaching North Korean agent Japanese customs and manners so they could pass as Japanese citizens(*1)
  3. Recruits for the Yodo-go group(*2) to which North Korea is giving refuge.


*1 1987 Korean Airliners Bombing
In 1987, North Korean agents bombed a Korean Airlines flight destined for Seoul killing all passengers. Culprit Kim Hyong-hi, a North Korean agent, was caught carrying a counterfeit Japanese passport and attempting to pass as a Japanese citizen.
*2 "Yodo-go group"
A Japan Airlines Flight 351, commonly known as "Yodo-go", was hijacked on 31st May 1970 by 9 Japanese ultra-leftists. The "Yodo-go group" refers to the culprits of this hijacking and their families.