Friday, August 04, 2006

Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story

I was surprised to see Jane Campion’s name associated with a documentary about an obscure Japanese / North Korean story. But she is producer of this film about the abduction of a 13 year old girl on her way home from school in 1977. Which turned out to be the tip of an iceberg of abductions of Japanese, South Korean and others by North Korean secret agents. Those abducted were used to teach North Korean spies how to impersonate people from their home countries in order to blend in more easily.

The story is told from the point of view of Megumi’s parents attempts to find their daughter, the journalist who noticed the pattern of disappearances, and the lobby group founded by the parents of detainees to put pressure on a reluctant Japanese government to get the kidnapped people back. Given how polite we expect Japanese people to be it is amazing to see how publicly rude the frustrated parents get with stonewalling government politicians. It is also amazing to hear how the North Korean government changed its story when put under pressure.

If you don’t know the details of this story it is well worth seeing this documentary as an education in North Korean activities, Japanese politics and lobbying.

Ian’s Rating: 2.5/5

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