Saturday, April 29, 2006
After pleading with U.S. lawmakers that time is running out to save her daughter, the mother of a Japanese girl kidnapped nearly 30 years ago by North Korean agents shared her story yesterday with President Bush.
Bush said he was deeply moved by the plight of Sakie Yokota, who longs to be reunited with her daughter. Megumi Yokota was 13 when she was kidnapped on the way home from school in 1977 by North Korean agents.
"It is hard to believe that a country would foster abduction," Bush said after a meeting with relatives of Japanese abducted by North Korea and North Korean defectors.
"It's hard for Americans to imagine that a leader of any country would encourage the abduction of a young child," Bush said. "It's a heartless country that would separate loved ones. . . ." He added: "If North Korea expects to be respected in the world, that country must respect human rights and human dignity, and must allow this mother to hug her child again."
Yokota met with Bush after speaking before two House of Representatives subcommittees on Thursday about the pain, fatigue and helplessness she has experienced in working to find her daughter. Yokota urged the world to impose sanctions on North Korea if the victims are not returned immediately.
"My daughter Megumi and other abductees must be alive somewhere in North Korea," Yokota said through an interpreter. "They are waiting for our help, even now."