A Shocking Survivor Story

A Memoir 10 Years After Returning to Japan, Ms. Soga
All of the memoir of Hitomi Soga (53), returned captive from North Korea, is as below dated September 20th 2012.
(1)“The dream came true.” A Meeting with Japanese Government on September 17th 2002
“It’s been 10 years already.”
It’s the new year of 2012. How many times I’ve murmured this phrase! Various thoughts run through my head every time I mutter. The memories I don’t want to recall appear clearly, and the memories I want to remember fade away as time goes by. When I think this and that, I cannot stand anymore, and my chest gets constricted and agitated at the same time.
When I thought how fast the last 10 years passed, my shame and regret burst with the fact that only I came back to Japan. To be honest, I had thought that the other captives would return one by one when the five of us had returned and the issue of this captivity had been drawn to the attention of the nation. However, no progress has been seen in the last 10 years.
When I think about the other families who bave been waiting for their sons and daughters captured, I do sympathize that their each day is very important to them and the time is limited. How does this issue get solved? Nobody could give an answer to this question. It could be an awfully difficult matter. However still, this present situation should not be allowed to continue for a long time. I hope some clue of solution could be found. Then I look back my case, my last 10 years.
Where should I start? Let me see. Yes, when I remember first by all means, it was a meeting with a Japanese investigating group which became a factor in bringing me back to Japan. The investigation group came on September the 17th 2002. In fact I had been told beforehand that an investigation group would come, by an executive of the party. But, because I had been cheated there for so long, I was not sure if a meeting was realistic.
I went to a meeting hall with an executive of the party and an instructor. The moment has really come after the 24 years of desperate wait. My dream had come true. I was so excited that I couldn’t express how I was pleased. However I couldn’t speak Japanese then, so our communication was done through an interpreter.
In my heart I was screaming that I was “Hitomi Soga” in Japanese. Each questions asked made me frustrated. I had been irritated that they didn’t recognize me as “Hitomi Soga.” right away. I don’t remember how long it took for them to recognize
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me. Then, the investigating people admitted that I was she. I will never forget that moment.
There was a matter I only regretted. I was shown a photograph at the meeting. When I was asked “Do you know who she is ?” I said “It’s me.” Then the person showed a curious face. Because I had no idea who else it could be, I was thinking. Then he said, ” She is your mother.”
I had forgotten my mother’s (Miyoshi, captured at the same time and her safety is still unknown) face whom I had been thinking of and wishing to see. That was a photo I ‘d never seen, though I had never imagined myself that I would forget her face. It was a shock which overwhelmed me that I could hardly compare with other several shocking experiences which occurred later on. I still remember I had lost all my strength at once then.
After that, I was about to return to Japan temporarily. My daughters were concerned about me for everything and said, ”You are going back to Japan, but can you speak Japanese? You should be speaking even some Japanese there. Why don’t you study a little now? “ I was so glad that they worried about me. However, I thought that the immediate study wouldn’t make much difference, and that I would manage when I got there. I remember I had been bold and fearless then.
On the day of the flight, my husband and daughters came to the airport to see me off. I leaped for the joy in my mind at the fact that I was finally going back to Japan. However, on the other hand, I worried if my family of Sado and friends and relatives remembered me, and if they accepted me. Various thoughts came and rushed in my head. I finally took off.
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Jan 15, 2013