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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 April 2006, 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK
Mother's plea for N Korea abductee
Mother Choi Gye-won with one of Mr Kim's sisters
Mr Kim's mother appealed for his return from the North
The mother of a South Korean man believed abducted by North Korea in 1978 has appealed for his return.

Japanese officials announced on Tuesday that DNA evidence suggested he was alive and had married a fellow abductee from Japan, Megumi Yokota.

DNA tests matched Ms Yokota's daughter with the family of the missing Kim Yong-nam, officials said.

Ms Yokota is one of 13 Japanese nationals Pyongyang has admitted to kidnapping to train its spies.

Kim Young-nam disappeared from a beach in South Korea when he was 16.

"I thought he was dead. Now I want to see my son and live with him as soon as possible," Choi Gye-won, 82, told a press conference in Seoul.

Kim Young-nam in an undated photo
Kim Young-nam disappeared when he was 16

She appealed to South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun to help her son return.

"I want to see my granddaughter too... That's my wish before I die," she said.

On Tuesday, Japanese officials said DNA tests showed there was a "high probability" that Ms Yokota's husband was Mr Kim.

Ms Yokota, who was abducted as a school girl in 1977, later married and gave birth to a daughter. The North Korean government says she killed herself in 1994 while being treated for depression.

Japanese officials met Ms Yokota's daughter during a visit to Pyongyang and took a DNA sample from her. It was tested against samples from the relatives of five missing South Koreans.

Speculation

The announcement about Ms Yokota's husband - whom Pyongyang had said was North Korean - will fuel speculation that North Korea has not been truthful about the Japanese abductee.

The issue is an emotive one in Japan, with many Japanese people hoping Ms Yokota and other abductees may still be alive.

Japanese spokesman Shinzo Abe said Japan was keen to increase co-operation with Seoul on the abduction issue.

"South Korea wants to conduct its own DNA tests and Japan would like to co-operate," he said.

South Korea estimates that the North is holding more than 1,000 of its nationals, including over 500 from the 1950-53 Korean War.


SEE ALSO:
Mystery of Japan abductee deepens
11 Apr 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Japan wants N Korean spies held
23 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
N Korea-Japan dispute unresolved
05 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
N Korea admits South kidnappings
25 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Heartbreak over Japan's missing
11 Aug 04 |  Asia-Pacific
S Koreans lost to the North
26 Nov 03 |  Asia-Pacific
North Korea pressed on South's missing
20 Sep 02 |  Asia-Pacific


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