Film on abductee Megumi Yokota wins US journalism award | world | Hindustan Times
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Film on abductee Megumi Yokota wins US journalism award

world Updated: Jan 14, 2009 18:04 IST
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A documentary film on a 13-year-old Japanese girl abducted by North Korean agents in 1977 has won one of the most prestigious awards in American broadcast journalism.

"Abduction -- The Megumi Yokota Story," won the Alfred I DuPont Silver Baton, according to Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, which sponsors the award.

The duPont award is considered the broadcasting equivalent of the Pulitzer Prizes, also administered by the Columbia school.

The film's directors -- Canadian filmmakers Chris Sheridan and Patty Kim -- will receive the award at a ceremony at Columbia University in New York on Jan 22.

The 85-minute film tells the story of Megumi Yokota, who was kidnapped at age 13 while walking home from school in Niigata on the Sea of Japan coast.

The film also follows the 30-year struggle of her parents -- Shirker and Sakie Yokota -- to learn the truth about what happened to her.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il admitted his spies had abducted Megumi and 12 other Japanese nationals from Japan in the late 1970s and early 1980s when then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made a landmark visit to Pyongyang in 2002.

"This is a revealing story about Japanese family life, society and politics and the deep bond between parent and child," the Columbia University school said on its website.

The Megumi Yokota Story has received six awards, including the Best Documentary Audience Award at the 2006 Omaha Film Festival in Nebraska and the Best Documentary award at the 2006 Asian Film Festival of Dallas, Texas.

It has been screened in Britain, France, Belgium, Japan and Canada in addition to the United States.