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Thai man’s campaign to find his aunt, allegedly kidnapped by North Korea 42 years ago




A Thai man, who believes his aunt was abducted by North Korea several decades ago, says he’s encouraged by Japan’s efforts to track down its citizens also thought to have been kidnapped by the rogue state. Thai PBS World reports that Banchon Panjoi was invited to a meeting in Japan organised by relatives of missing people believed to have been taken by North Korea.

His aunt Anocha Panjoi, who he barely knew, disappeared 42 years ago. Since then, most family members close to her have died, leaving the younger generation trying to find her. Banchon says the meeting in Japan left him feeling encouraged, as he has spent the last 15 years trying to track down his aunt with no success.

Mr. Yoshihidei Suka, secretary-general in the Japanese cabinet, says Japan is fully committed to finding those believed to have been abducted by North Korea, with their official records revealing that 17 Japanese citizens were kidnapped by the country. Unofficial data however shows that up to 100 were taken, with most believed to be still in North Korea.

As well as Japan and Thailand, citizens of several other nations are believed to have been abducted by the country. They include Singapore, Jordan, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, France, China, Romania, Lebanon and South Korea.

The vice secretary-general of the Association of Families of Kidnap Victims, whose own son, Yaeko Takuji, was kidnapped by North Korea 41 years ago, is grateful for Japan’s commitment to solving the mystery. Koijiro Isuka suggests imposing sanctions on North Korea until they release all foreign nationals currently being held in the country.

Meanwhile, family members of American citizens being held in North Korea accuse US officials of not doing enough to help them.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World


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