North Korean Announcer, Abducted Japanese in `88

[imText1]An announcer from a North Korean government based radio broadcast, “The Voice of Chosun” is believed to be a Japanese person once abducted from Tottori prefecture in 1988.

In a telephone conversation with the DailyNK on the 26th, Kazuhiro Araki, representative for Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese Probably Related to N.Korea asserted, “On comparing the photos of abducted Japanese person Yakura Tomiyatsu in 1988 and a footage of announcer Shin Beom at a recording of “The Voice of Chosun” at Pyongyang’s Korea Hotel on March 15th, there is a high possibility that they are the same person.”

Representative Araki said, “The informant who requested the name said that members of an organization in Japan “Aechoenghwoi of Pyongyang broadcasting (a group for North Korean radio listeners)” took the photo on their visit to Pyongyang on March 15th and relayed the photos in early July” and, “Information was conveyed as there is a possibility that Shin portrays the exact same likeness as Yakura who was possibly abducted by North Korea.”

The photo taken on March 15th portrays 3 members of the association and 3 North Korean affiliates of the Central Broadcasting Committee including Shin. The photo of Yakura is an old photo approximately 20 years ago, taken before his disappearance.

“On receiving the information, I sought Professor Hashimoto of Tokyo Medical and Dental University regarding the possibility of the person being the same person, in which the results indicated, ‘There would be no problem to consider the person as the same’” he said and, “This is the result we received after comparing 30 photos of Yakura and 2 photos of Shinbom taken on March 15th.”

Representative Araki added, “According to Professor Hashimoto’s medical jurisprudence, facial characteristics such as the ears, nose, cheekbones, Adam’s apple and finger shape are alike as is the height.”

He said, “We are certain that it is the same person” and revealed, “The assistance of a voice recognition expert has been requested. Results should come out mid-August.”

According to data obtained from North Korea, Shin studied in Pyongyang Medical College and worked as a teacher for 10 years. In 1998, he began working for the Central Broadcasting Committee. People who had met Shin have commented that Shin’s Japanese skills were perfect in comparison to his Korean skills which were poor.

On the other hand, Yakura was born in 1951 and was abducted on August 2nd 1988 while catching fish on a boat that left Sakaiminato Port in Tottori prefecture. Following investigations at the time, coastline police found Yakura’s boat off coast from where it usually caught fish on August 10th. At the time, evidence of a brawl had been noted within the captain’s cabin.

Representative Araki said, “Yakura was an extremely skilled mechanic who worked for a machine tool factory in Japan, but lived as a fisherman after the company became bankrupt in 1984” and asserted, “He was a well known mechanic and often received invitations to visit Eastern European blocs. Hence, there is a high possibility he caught the attention of North Korea and was kidnapped.”