SOUTH KOREA: NORTH KOREAN WOMAN CONFESSES TO BLOWING UP AIRLINER. SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA A sobbing North Koran woman appeared live on television in Seoul on January 15 and confessed to blowing up a South Korean airliner in November 1987 on the orders of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il. The woman, identified as 26-year-old Kim Hyon-Hui said that she wanted to reveal 'the whole truth of the incident to help make up for the horrible crime I committed'. Korean Airlines flight 858 disappeared on November 29 during a flight from Baghdad to Seoul. Jim said that she and a male companion planted two bombs aboard the plane. All 115 passengers and crew were killed. The two were arrested in Bahrain but not before they had both swallowed cyanide capsules. The man died but Kim recovered. Jim said that the attack, designed to discourage participation in the Seoul Olympic Games, had been personally ordered by Kim Jong-Il, the son and designated heir of North Korean President Kim Il-Sung.
JAPAN/SOUTH KOREA: Japanese government releases video of former North Korean agent's visit to Japan The Japanese government on Friday (July 23) released a video of former North Korean spy Kim Hyon-hui during her visit to Japan, where she met with families of Japanese abducted by Pyongyang decades ago. Kim, who left Tokyo on Friday (July 23) after spending four days in the country, was once sentenced to death in South Korea but later pardoned for her role in blowing up a South Korean passenger plane in 1987 and killing 115 people. On Thursday (July 22), Japanese media and opposition party lawmakers criticised the government's costly hospitality for the former North Korean agent. Highways and roads in Tokyo were closed down as Kim Hyon-hui was taken to a hotel in Tokyo, broadcasters said, showing heavily guarded cars and traffic jams. She also took a 35-minute helicopter ride around Tokyo, flying over some landmarks, broadcaster TBS reported, adding that such sightseeing helicopter flights could cost about 1.4 million yen (16,100 USD) an hour. Kim arrived in Japan on a jet chartered by the Japanese government. The government's treatment of Kim, who met some family members of kidnapped Japanese citizens at former premier Yukio Hatoyama's vacation house in Nagano, is "nothing but performance", said Sadakazu Tanigaki, the head of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party. Hatoyama served as the secretary in charge of the abduction issue before he became the prime minister. But one official said the guarded cars were a security precaution while Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku said the helicopter ride was to avoid traffic and was not intended as a sightseeing tour. Meanwhile, Kim held meetings with the relatives of Yaeko Taguchi, one of the abductees whom she met in Busan earlier last year. She told the gathered relatives she had actually met up with Yaeko and several other Japanese in North Korea. After meeting with Yaeko Taguchi's family, Kim and Yaeko's eldest son Koichiro Iizuka, were seen in the footage standing side-by-side in the kitchen while Kim showed him how to cook traditional Korean food. The former North Korean spy was invited to Japan by the Japanese government, which hoped to question her about what Tokyo says was North Korea's programme to kidnap Japanese citizens who would then serve as teachers helping to train North Korean spies. Tokyo has pressed Pyongyang to reveal the fate of Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s, a topic that still fuels Japan's public anger, but not much progress has been made in recent years over the feud. Kim did not provide new information on the abducted citizens, media reported. Former primer Junichiro Koizumi was credited with helping secure the release of five North Korean-born children of Japanese abductees after his talk with the communist leader Kim Jong-il in the reclusive country's capital city in 2004. Negotiations on the issue have been at a deadlock ever since, with more Japanese believed to still be held by North Korea. North Korea has apologized for the kidnapping of 13 Japanese citizens. Five have been returned, but the North says the rest all died. It has said Taguchi, who had married another abductee, was killed in a car accident in 1986 but has offered no evidence. Kim was born in 1962 in Pyongyang and told authorities after her capture she studied Japanese at a language school in Pyongyang. She also said she had been tutored by Japanese abductee Yaeko Taguchi before she was dispatched abroad to spy for the communist regime. She was captured in Bahrain in 1987 accused of bombing a Korean Air's 858 passenger plane in 1987 killing 115 people. She was sentenced to death by a South Korean court but later pardoned by President Roh Tae-woo in 1990. Kim currently lives in South Korea with her husband and two children. (Caption:JAPAN/SOUTH KOREA: Japanese government releases video of former North Korean agent's visit to Japan)