July 10, 2014 3:00 am JST

North Korea says multiple Japanese abductees still alive

TOKYO -- A list of missing Japanese said by North Korea to be living in the country contains known victims of state-sponsored kidnappings in the 1970s and 80s, The Nikkei learned Wednesday.

     The Nikkei reported last week that the secretive country, which agreed in May to investigate the whereabouts of alleged Japanese abductees, had presented Japanese officials with a list of survivors.

     Sources now say some 30 people are on this list, revealed at a July 1 meeting in Beijing, along with their date of birth, occupation and other information. As of Wednesday, the Japanese government had matched about two-thirds of them with domestic records of missing persons.

      Some are among the 12 victims of North Korean abductions recognized by the Japanese government who have yet to return to Japan. The list also contains names of presumed abductees and other Japanese.

     The North Korean side says the list was compiled at the start of this year, suggesting it knew the whereabouts of the missing Japanese even before the negotiations leading up to the probe. Pyongyang is supposed to report its initial findings between late August and early September.

     It is unclear how the list fits in to the investigation, the start of which was announced on the same day the names were shown to Japanese officials.

     Tokyo intends to press Pyongyang to adhere to its promise of a comprehensive probe, not simply look into the people on the list.