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9 North Korean refugees given shelter in Japan

9 North Korean refugees given shelter in Japan

Japanese coast guard picks up North Korean refugee boat (BBC screen shot)

The Japanese government is giving temporary shelter to nine North Korean defectors who were picked up by the Japanese coast guard Tuesday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said Tokyo is in the process of granting permits for the North Koreans to stay in Japan for up to six months.

The nine North Koreans–three men, three women and three children–had left from the North Korean port of Chongjin Thursday in an eight-meter wooden boat supplied with rice, pickles and 30 liters of water, hoping to sail down the coast of the Korean Peninsula to South Korea. They were somehow blown off course and ended up 750 kilometers away off the Japanese north-west coast of Kanazawa five days later. They were low on food and out of water. The nine were allowed to take showers and given food before being flown to a refugee center in Nagasaki.

This is only the third time North Korean defectors have reached Japan by boat, the other two times being in 1987 and 2007. Most North Korean defectors cross the border into China and then make their way to South Korea. While Japan has decidedly xenophobic restrictions on immigrants and asylum-seekers, the government typically sends defectors hoping to go to South Korea on to South Korea.



Dustin Dye

Dustin Dye is the author of the YAKUZA DYNASTY series, available through the Amazon Kindle.

He lived in Okayama, Japan, where he taught English at a junior high school through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program for three years. He is a graduate from the University of Kansas, where he received a bachelor's degree in anthropology.

His interest in Japan began in elementary school after seeing Godzilla fight Ghidorah, the three-headed monster. But it wasn't until he discovered Akira Kurosawa's films through their spaghetti Western remakes that he truly became fascinated in the people and culture of Japan.

He lives in Kansas with his wife, daughter and guinea pig.

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E-mail him: [email protected]