A Japanese government source revealed on March 25 that during North Korea’s communications with Japan in 2014, the DPRK told the Japanese side that a former ramen shop employee in Kobe named Tatsumitsu Kaneda had “entered the country.” Kaneda, who went missing when he was 26 years old, is on the Japanese government’s list of missing persons who might have been abducted.
Since the Japanese government has not met with Kaneda, it is handling this matter cautiously. Kaneda has not been recognized as an abduction victim because there is no record of his leaving Japan and no information on his being abducted by a spy ship.
At about the same time, North Korea is known to have informed Japan that Minoru Tanaka, who was 28 years old when he went missing and has been recognized by the government as an abduction victim, had entered the country. This was before Japan and North Korea signed the Stockholm Agreement on the reinvestigation of the abduction cases in May 2014. Japan suspected that this might be a maneuvering tactic.
In response to inquiries from Kyodo News, a senior Foreign Ministry declined to give any comments on this matter. According to the above Japanese government source, it is unclear whether Kaneda wishes to return to Japan. He is said to be living in Pyongyang. (Abridged)