Ex-North Korean spy
By Kim Se-jeong
Kim Hyun-hui, a former North Korean spy who blew up a South Korean airplane in 1987, will meet family members of a Japanese woman abducted to North Korea this month in Busan, a Japanese newspaper reported.
The Japanese woman is believed to have taught Japanese to Kim.
Kyodo News reported Sunday that the meeting between Kim and family members of Yaeko Taguchi would take place ``probably at the end of this month in Busan.''
The meeting came after Kim's interview with Japanese media last month, during which she expressed her willingness to meet the family members of her former Japanese tutor. The family responded with interest, and South Korean and Japanese governments have consulted each other on the date and location.
Taguchi was abducted by North Korea in 1978 at the age of 22 and given a Korean name, Lee Eun-hye. Her son, Koichi lizuka, 32, told Kyodo News recently that ``I would like to ask (Kim) about (my mother's) gestures and favorite things so I can get an image of her.''
Taguchi is one of dozens of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents to the secluded country in the 1970s and 1980s. Many of the abducted are believed to have taught Japanese to agents like Kim.
North Korea admitted to Taguchi's abduction but said she died in 1986, a claim Japan doesn't accept. The abduction issue has been a sticking point in normalizing Japan and North Korea relations. Japan has demanded a full admission and the release of all Japanese living nationals as a prerequisite for normalizing relations.
Kim, with another North Korean spy, Kim Sung-il, was responsible for the explosion of Korean Air Flight 858 in 1987 that killed all 115 passengers on board.
They were apprehended in Bahrain, but Kim Sung-il bit a cyanide pill that was hidden in a cigarette and died. Kim also attempted to kill herself but failed.
During an interrogation by South Korean authorities, Kim confessed to her role in the explosion and revealed that during espionage training, she was taught Japanese by a Japanese woman abducted to North Korea whom the Japanese Foreign Ministry identified as Taguchi.
Kim was sentenced to death in March 1989 but was pardoned by then President Roh Tae-woo.
She later wrote an autobiography, ``Tears of My Soul,'' and donated the proceeds to the families of the victims of the flight. In 1997, she married a former South Korean intelligence agent who was her bodyguard.
They live in an undisclosed location under constant protection in fear of reprisals from either victims' families or the North Korean government, which branded her as a traitor.