ABDUCTED JAPANESE NATIONALS: Yukiko Okudo and Kaoru Hasuike
On July 31, 1978, a 20-year-old college student Kaoru Hasuike (R)
and his girlfriend, Yukiko Okudo (L), were walking along the shore of Kashiwazaki City, Japan. The couple planned to watch the sunset on the
beach at the end of a hot summer day. They walked to a secluded area,
hoping to get away from the crowds. They noticed several suspicious men
watching them nearby, but assumed they were visitors. One of the men
walked up to the couple and asked if they had a light for his cigarette. The
man suddenly struck Hasuike in the face, while two others rushed to tie
his arms. Stunned, Hasuike was unable to respond before he was gagged
and forced into a large bag. Okudo was quickly bound in the same way
and shoved into another bag. The two were left lying on the ground for
some time, listening to their attackers standing guard. They were loaded
into an inflatable boat that took them to a larger ship farther out at sea. Once they were onboard, Hasuike and Okudo were told that if they remained quiet, they would not be harmed. Drugged, they stayed silent, watching the lights of Kashiwazaki City fade over the horizon. The next view of land came two days later when they arrived at the port of Chongjin, North Korea.
Kaoru Hasuike and his girlfriend Yukiko, the Japanese couple abducted in July of 1978, were initially kept apart in North Korea and were not allowed to see each other for over two years. During those two years, when either of them asked about the other, their captors told them that the other had been sent back to Japan. Eventually, the regime allowed them to reunite and they were married. Hasuike surmised that the reason his fiancé Yukiko was allowed to reunite with him after two long years of separation was because her captors abandoned their plans to use her as a spy.