(Sankei: January 28, 2016 – Top play)
Of the approximately 470 designated missing persons who might have been abducted by North Korea, 121, or about one-fourth, were living near Self-Defense Forces (SDF) or U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) facilities, Sankei learned in an interview with Kazuhiro Araki, representative of the Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese Probably Related to North Korea (COMJAN), on Jan. 27. Araki disclosed that there is information that nine missing persons were attached to the SDF and USFJ facilities.
North Korea presumably abducts Japanese nationals for three purposes: (1) to steal the identity of Japanese, (2) to have them train its agents so that they can pass as Japanese, and (3) to marry them to Japanese living in North Korea. How the SDF and USFJ fit into the scheme of things remains unclear. Yet gathering information on the SDF and USFJ is one of North Korea’s aims. The commission obtained a copy of an instruction manual believed to be issued by the North Korean spy agency. The manual stipulates the importance of establishing spy cells near military facilities.
The commission will promote the verification of the backgrounds of the missing persons and call on the Defense Ministry to investigate the abduction cases. It will also investigate nine missing persons connected to the SDF and USFJ.
The commission conducted a field investigation from June 2011 through October 2015 to verify the places where the designated missing persons had disappeared. (Abridged)