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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 December, 2004, 13:19 GMT
Press anger flares over North Korea abductee
Shigeru Yokota (R), father of kidnapped Megumi Yokota, with his wife Sakie in Tokyo
The parents' anguish will continue

Japanese newspapers are furious after DNA test results showed the cremated remains provided by North Korea supposedly of abductee Megumi Yokota were not actually hers.

Japan suspects North Korea gave other people's remains to a visiting delegation last month, hoping to convince Japan that two people abducted during the Cold War to train spies had died.

The papers call for sanctions, and many question whether Tokyo should continue to provide aid at all.

All the major national dailies reflect the feeling of outrage encapsulated in Yomiuri Shimbun's editorial headed 'Someone else's remains: the North's senseless act will incur sanctions'.

The paper, Japan's largest daily, calls the authorities in Pyongyang "absolutely despicable" for trifling with the feelings of the families of the abductees.

To compound "this scandal", the paper says, not only are the purported remains of Ms Megumi Yokota not hers, even her photographs provided at recent talks in Pyongyang are suspected of being composite pictures.

North Korea's clumsy attempts to cover up its "lies" are "ridiculous", it says.

The paper urges the government to lodge a "strong protest" with North Korea, to consider imposing sanctions, and to suspend or even cancel the remaining unimplemented food aid.

The second-largest daily Asahi Shimbun is left "speechless" with indignation, and calls on North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to "heed this voice of fury".

The remainder of Japan's food aid to the North should be "put on hold", the paper says.


An editorial in the leading business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun expresses "shock, exasperation, and indignation" at what it calls North Korea's "dishonest" attitude, saying it is time to consider economic sanctions.

Megumi Yokota stands at an unknown place in North Korea after her abduction
Her whereabouts are still unknown

The paper calls on Mr Kim to abandon the policy of releasing information on the abductees in small doses and using this issue as "a diplomatic card".

North Korea, it warns, has "misread" the mood in Japan.

Mainichi Shimbun, Japan's third-largest daily, says the "falsified remains" cast suspicion over all the other information on the abductees and violate the Japanese-North Korea Pyongyang Declaration .

This "despicable treatment", it says, "makes a mockery" of the Japanese government and people.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi should demand an explanation, Japan's food aid to North Korea should be suspended "as a matter of course", and sanctions "should be considered."

'Utter distrust'

The paper asks Tokyo to reconsider its negotiation strategy with North Korea since, it says, continuing with working-level talks now seems "pointless" in light of the Japanese people's "utter distrust" of the North.

The Sankei Shimbun goes further. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda should declare that further food aid will be "difficult", it says, because it is now "absolutely out of the question" to resume normalization talks at an early date.

According to the Tokyo Shimbun, the North has "pushed deception beyond the pale" and is now no longer a country with which problems can be resolved through dialogue alone.

The North, it charges, shows "no trace of good faith" and has treated the Japanese "with utter contempt".

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

Progress on Japanese abductees
12 Nov 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Japan upset over N Korea missing
12 Aug 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Heartbreak over Japan's missing
11 Aug 04 |  Asia-Pacific

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