February 25, 2024

The strange case of the Japanese man who chose to stay in North Korea

Captured decades ago, Takeshi Terakoshi still lives in Pyongyang with his North Korean wife and kids

Stories abound of North Korean agents abducting foreign nationals and using them for statecraft. Under the auspices of Kim Jong Il, who directed kidnapping operations while his father ran the country, the DPRK snatched people from across the world to serve as language tutors or even as spouses for wanted terrorists.

While the roster of kidnapped victims spans multiple countries, Japan is the only one to make its abductions a key pillar of its foreign policy. The number of suspected Japanese abductees is in the hundreds.