Thai, Lebanese and South Korean families who fear their relatives were kidnapped and taken to North Korea decades ago met with counterparts from Japan in Tokyo on Wednesday, saying they would all work together to rescue their loved ones from the communist country. Thai Sukam Panjoy, 59, whose younger sister Anocha was allegedly abducted from the then-Portuguese colony of Macau by North Korea in 1978, and the Lebanese Mountaha Chehade Haidar, 69, whose daughter Shi'am is alleged to have been abducted by North Korea in 1978, were present at the meeting, together with representatives of Japanese and Korean abductees' support groups.
"I have no idea what sort of a life my sister leads (in North Korea), and that makes me very sad," Panjoy told reporters at a press conference following the meeting. Haidar called on North Korea to swiftly return the alleged victims. "I want my daughter back in Lebanon. I want to carry out my responsibilities as a mother," Haidar said.
U.S. Army deserter Robert Jenkins, who abandoned his unit and fled to North Korea in 1965 before emerging in 2004, claims in a book published earlier this year that he met many people in the communist country he believed were abductees from Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
In the book, Jenkins claims Anocha and Shi'am were both abducted by the communist regime, and married fellow U.S. Army deserters Larry Abshier and Jerry Parrish.
North Korea in 2002 acknowledged kidnapping about a dozen Japanese citizens to help train spies. But Pyongyang has not acknowledged kidnapping the nationals of other countries, reports the AP. I.L.