Junior High School Category 2nd Prize
"For the day when we can genuinely laugh together"
9th grade, Yachimata Municipal Yachimataminami Junior High School
I was surprised! I didn't know such a thing happened. I watched an anime and it had a big impact on me. I'm fifteen years old now, which is very close to the age Megumi-san was when she was abducted. Just imagining being separated from my beloved family, taken on a ship, and brought to North Korea is terrifying and makes me tremble. And the feelings of the family left behind. The sad days of searching and not finding.
I wanted to know more about the abduction issue, so I searched on the internet. I learned that the main purpose of North Korea's abductions is for their operatives to impersonate Japanese people and carry out activities. And I found out that there are as many as 700 missing persons with suspicions of abduction. It makes me feel a little ashamed that I thought Japan was peaceful. There are 700 families who are living each day with the same painful feelings as Megumi-san's family.
Furthermore, Mr. Shigeru Yokota, Megumi's father, passed away in 2020 without being able to reunite with her. It is truly heartbreaking to think about how much he wanted to see his beloved daughter.
I came across an advertisement for the "Megumi and the Yokota Family Message Photo Exhibition" and happened to have some business nearby, so my family and I decided to stop by.
There, I saw photos of Megumi and her family, taken before she was abducted, where they were all smiling brightly and happily. In contrast, there were also heartbreaking photos of her father and mother, unable to hold back their tears.
What shocked me the most was the photo of Megumi's student ID from when she was abducted by North Korea. It made me realize that she was truly taken to North Korea. It felt like a crushing reality. I felt grateful that I didn't miss the opportunity to see these photos, as they made me feel much closer to the situation than just reading about it online.
However, there was one thing that concerned me. Despite it being a holiday, the visitors were all elderly people. There wasn't a single person who appeared to be a student. This is not good. We need to move the hearts of more people! Megumi is still living in North Korea. We want her to be returned to Japan as soon as possible. We need to reunite her with her waiting family, especially her elderly mother, as soon as possible. I can only imagine how much Megumi longs to see her mother... It fills my heart with sadness.
As a middle school student, is there anything I can do? Yes, there is. It is to spread the message. We need to tell as many people as possible and join forces.
At the venue, the word "会いたい" (I want to meet you) was surrounded by many small origami cranes. It was like a symbol that even small forces can become a big force when they come together.
If many people sincerely wish to meet, I believe it can definitely be realized.
For the day when we can genuinely laugh together...