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Where are Matsuki's bones?
AFAR
11/13/2002

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Pyongyang is finding itself in a losing battle to keep its credibility regarding its accounts of the Japanese nationals who were kidnapped in North Korea some twenty years ago.

Recently, Pyongyang presented Tokyo with the Kaoru Matsukiís so-called bones. However, autopsy reports tentatively conclude that the bones supposedly belonging to the late Matsuki are likely not his. While it is possible the DNA mismatch could be explained by serious bone damage sustained after multiple cremations, the DNA analysis nonetheless failed to pair the bones to Matsuki. Furthermore, the jawbones and teeth are too small to belong to an adult male, says dental specialist Masatsugu Hashimoto.

Matsuki is one of thirteen Japanese whom Pyongyang has admitted to abducting during the years of 1977 and 1983. While five have since returned to Japan, the whereabouts of the other eight, including Matsuki remain unknown. Pyongyang claims that Matsuki died at forty-three years of age in a traffic accident back in 1996.

Japan plans to press North Korea to further investigate the fate of the missing eight.

While the near future may bring normalization talks, there is also considerable internal pressure for Japan to take a firm stance towards North Korea, as some consider the abductions to be state terrorism.

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