Kim Dae-jung says he's unhappy with kidnap report
October 31, 2007, 12:00 am TWN
TOKYO -- Former South Korean president Kim Dae-jung is unhappy with a spy agency report on his abduction in Tokyo in 1973 because it failed to make clear that the purpose of the kidnapping was to kill him, media reported on Tuesday.
The agency admitted last week to kidnapping Kim from a Tokyo hotel, two years after he had come close to beating authoritarian incumbent Park Chung-hee in the 1971 presidential election.
"This committee confirms that its precursor, the Korea Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA), undertook a kidnapping in Japan, and expresses deep regret over this," the National Intelligence Service report said on Oct. 24. Kim's captors blindfolded him and whisked him across country to Osaka where he was bundled aboard a boat. According to most versions of the story, the KCIA agents planned to kill him and dump the body at sea.
The spy agency report said only that evidence supported "the possibility that, up to a certain point, the plan had been pursued as an assassination."
"It is our judgment that President Park ... at least gave a passive approval," the NIS panel said, but added that it could not prove Park directly ordered the kidnapping of his biggest political rival.
Speaking in the western Japanese city of Kyoto on Tuesday, Kim said he was disappointed the report did not recognize Park's direct involvement in the plot, Kyodo news agency reported.
"It is clear that the incident was instructed by President Park and the purpose was murder," Kim was quoted as saying in Kyoto, where he was receiving an honorary university degree.
The kidnappers were caught and Kim's life was spared, though he was to endure years of house arrest under Park and a successor army-led government. A first democratic government finally took office in 1988, and Kim was elected president in 1997.
Japan said on Tuesday it would not pursue the incident further after Seoul's ambassador to Japan visited Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura and said the kidnapping was regrettable.
"We need to think about Japan's relations with South Korea in a forward looking manner," Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda told reporters.