Sunday, December 03, 2006

Darkness in the East

North Korea has rattled its saber lately. The West scrambled to coherently respond when NK initiated missal tests. Various Reasonable internationalists and commenters urged the US to act more responsibly. Engage in one-on-one talks, as Kim Jung Il has asked. Surrender all this Axis of Evil nonsense.

Well and good, for those who don't acknowledge the reality of evil apart from subjective experience.

Mrs. Yokota may disagree.

She can thank the North Korean dictatorship for her daughter's abduction.

MELANIE KIRKPATRICK of the Opinion Journal has the story:

Scene: A lonely residential street in the city of Niigata, along the western coast of Japan.

Time: Late afternoon in the autumn of 1977.

Action: A 13-year-old girl is walking home from school, having stayed late for badminton practice. She waves goodbye to friends, turns the corner, and is never seen again.

This is the true story of "Abduction," a documentary that opened in Japan last weekend after winning accolades at several international film festivals. The lost girl is Megumi Yokota. In 2002, North Korea admitted that it had kidnapped Megumi, along with 12 other Japanese citizens, enslaving them for the purpose of training its spies to pass as Japanese. "Megumi-chan," or "Little Megumi," is now a household name in Japan. President Bush met with Megumi's mother and brother in the White House last April, calling it "one of the most moving meetings since I've been the President."


As "Abduction" explains, it took years before Megumi's parents suspected what had happened to their daughter, and even now, the full story remains unknown. In the film, Ahn Myong-Jin, a former North Korean spy who defected to the South in 1993, describes what his instructor at the spy school--a Mr. Chung--told him about Megumi's kidnapping. The girl was hidden inside a steel compartment in the hold of a freighter during the 200-mile journey to North Korea, he says, scratching at the door so hard in an effort to escape that her nails came off. Mr. Chung felt "terrible," he says, when he discovered he had grabbed a child. Mr. Ahn remembers seeing the grown-up Megumi once, a beautiful young woman with "pure eyes."

Akitaka Saiki, who led Japan's negotiations with Pyongyang on the abduction issue and is now deputy chief of mission at the Japanese Embassy in Washington, says the "Japanese government has identified that at least 17 Japanese citizens have been abducted in 12 separate cases." Are there others? "There are still others who disappeared suddenly without good reason--suddenly from the beach, suddenly from a train station. We've identified 17 people with 100% certainty. There may be more." No. 17--a 29-year-old woman kidnapped in 1977 on her way to a knitting class--was added to the list only two weeks ago.

Before the Reasonable among us, and throughout the world, demand US concessions to NK, let them remember this. A government that kidnaps other country's citizens as a matter of policy practices grave evil. There's no obfuscating that fact without rupturing our capacity to live in the real world.

Yes, we'd all like to believe that a little education will liberate the positive mind to embrace the good. Unfortunately, sin shatters this precious illusion. When a dictatorship weds itself to grave evil, then men of goodwill must confront the dictator with the truth. Kim Jung Il deserves no diplomatic quarter. Let him face the nations whose citizens' human rights he's violated. They deserve no less.

Neither does he.

Update: Reader L. informed me that I had written the wrong surname for Megumi's family. I've made the change.

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