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North Korean spy and plane bomber visits Japan

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - 12:00

Tokyo: A former North Korean spy who blew up a South Korean plane in 1987, arrived in Tokyo early Tuesday to meet with the families of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korean agents, news reports said.

Kim Hyon Hui, convicted of bombing a Korean Air jetliner and killing 115 people on board, was heavily guarded by police on her arrival at Tokyo Haneda Airport on a government-chartered flight from South Korea.

She was then driven to a summer house in Karuizawa, central Japan, which is owned by former premier Yukio Hatoyama, Japan`s public broadcaster NHK reported.

In 2001, North Korea admitted abducting 13 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s. While five of them were allowed to return home, Pyongyang said eight had already died. But the Japanese government says the Stalinist state has yet to produce "any objective evidence that corroborates their claim."

While the families of the abduction victims hope Kim will provide new information about them, critics say the Japanese government is merely trying to gloss over its failure to resolve the longstanding problem by bringing her to Japan, Kyodo News reported.
Kim told Japanese government officials last year that she had met with Megumi Yokota, one of the victims, during training prior to the bombing.

After the bombing, Kim was arrested in Bahrain and sent to South Korea. She was sentenced to death in 1989, but then-president Roh Tae Woo pardoned her later.

Kim lives in South Korea and has two children.


First Published: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - 12:00
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