Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Japan holds suspected N. Korea spy

Source: CNN.

TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- Japanese police obtained an arrest warrant Thursday for an alleged North Korean spy suspected of abducting two children to the communist country decades ago, according to a media report.

Police obtained the arrest warrant for Yoko Kinoshita, 59, for allegedly kidnapping a 6-year-old girl and her 3-year-old brother in 1973 and taking them to North Korea, Kyodo News agency reported.

Police refused to immediately confirm the report.

The National Police Agency was to place a request to the Interpol to place Kinoshita on an international wanted list. She would be the ninth North Korean abduction-related suspect to be listed on international wanted lists through Interpol.

The National Police Agency said earlier this month they believe Ko Kyong Mi and her younger brother Ko Kang were snatched from their home in Saitama in 1973 by several colleagues of their father -- a suspected North Korean agent believed to have been running a spy agency in Japan under the cover of a trading company.

Police believe the children were held captive in Tokyo for about six months, then shipped to the North in 1974 on a spy boat from northern Japan. Kinoshita is believed to be a key figure behind the case, Kyodo said.

On Wednesday, police raided the offices linked to pro-North Korean association over the case.

The move this week is the latest in a series of steps against the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, or Chongryong, over the North's nuclear and missile disputes and its past abductions of Japanese citizens -- a major source of friction between the two countries, which have no diplomatic ties.

North Korea admitted in 2002 that it kidnapped 13 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and '80s. Pyongyang sent five of them home later that year, but insisted the rest were dead. Japan has demanded proof of the deaths, and says more of its citizens may have been taken.

Tokyo also refuses to provide energy and economic aid to North Korea -- as promised under a breakthrough nuclear disarmament agreement in February -- or to normalize relations, unless progress is made on resolving the issue.

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