The issue of separated families is becoming ever more pressing due to the old age and waning health of the candidates for the upcoming reunions. One has recently died, while some others have passed up their chance.
As of the end of 2013, only 71,480 of the 129,264 South Korean members of separated families registered since 1988 are still alive, according to the Unification Ministry. Of the survivors, more than 11 percent are in their 90s, 42 percent in their 80s and 29 percent in their 70s.
Since 1985, 18 face-to-face reunions and seven video-link meetings have taken place, involving more than 22,000 people from 4,380 families.