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Nine North Koreans to get temporary refuge in Japan

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48 Comments
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Just send them there. What is the big deal?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Don't think it's as simple as "hey South Korea, we got some North Korean defectors, we're sending them on a plane strait over you deal with it".

Diplomacy!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

For the Japanese authorities this is a no brainer. These people want to go to SK , SK will accept them and Japan looks good doing the right thing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What's there to even consider?? If they send them back, it's death -- one way or another. And as a kind of plus, sending them to SK gives Japan the chance to snub NK.

Badge213: It IS that simple where there is an apparent threat on their lives should they be forced to return to the country they flee. Usually the nation they land in will grant refugee status on that account, or send them somewhere else, but Japan has an extremely pathetic history of accepting refugees, and even sends some home where they are never heard again (Kurds who sought refugee status and foolishly chose Japan, then were sent back to Turkey, for example, after being wined and dined by Turkish authorities and told there was no problem).

I hope Japan plays this one well. Could boost their image abroad to an extent (save with NK, but hey).

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Could also be fleeing criminals. Send them back.

-28 ( +1 / -28 )

Well....I hope they don't show pictures of the defectors or print their names. If they do, there goes their whole family tree that are still in NKorea.

6 ( +5 / -0 )

"Could also be fleeing criminals. Send them back."

How about first checking to see if there is any evidence that they are indeed criminals before sending them back to their deaths in N.Korea?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I did not say send them back to NK! I read the article and it is about sending them to SK.

Not very nice Asagao! What compassion.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Of course they should check with the authorities in NK first. Then you will know. This is a dangerous precident. Many people may use Japan as a way to migrate.

-15 ( +0 / -15 )

If Japan sends them back to North Korea to their deaths, I'll lose a lot of respect for this country.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Just facilitate through diplomatic channels (like PRC) and focus on other important issues.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Treat them nicely, those people must have gone through hell and send them to South Korea if they wish so.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Allthough I'm against most of the LDP reversals of policy by Noda, the one I hope he does go back to is proactively pressuring North Korea. I'm sure Japan will do its best to look out for the welfare of these defectors by sending them to South Korea as they wish.

The real question is first how to force North Korea to first respect the human rights of the Japanese abductees it still holds and return them, and secondly how to get it to respect the human rights of it's people in general. The nuclear issue is a red herring - returning abductees is not reversible, their nuke program is, as they have shown. It is better to focus on and putting a financial price for DPRK on letting all abductees from all countries go.

Fact is that Japan remains one of the greatest sources of income for the regime in North Korea to survive - Japan needs to cut off all that income, and work with the other six party nations to ensure that no one breaks ranks to go soft on them - as China and Russia recently are - to leave the regime with no incentive to improve its conduct.

I hope that Japan sends these defectors to South Korea and makes a big noise about it, antagonizing the hell out of them and drawing the world's attention to what a completely morally redundant aristocratic despotic regime that country is ruled by.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Could also be fleeing criminals. Send them back.

Nice compassion, Asagao grub. I am confident that Japan will do the right thing and grant these adults and children their wish. I just hope they don't detain them unnecessarily for too long. Best wishes to these poor folk - it makes you wonder - how many more have tried this and been executed/imprisoned?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Easy way for spies to get into SK and thats why their should b a thoro investigation.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

The World Food Programme has a harrowing video of what these people are escaping: http://www.wfp.org/videos/hunger-dpr-korea

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Surprise there's no headline about them being in Japanese coastal regions, and Japan being very concerned about this.

Laguna - Got a big interest in DPRK, so thanks for that recent video.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Why get involved Japan, just let them go to south korea if that is what they want to do?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

For the Japanese authorities this is a no brainer. These people want to go to SK , SK will accept them and Japan looks good doing the right thing.

True, it is a no-brainer, but it isn't as simple as people like to make it look. I'm pretty sure these defectors never contacted South Korean officials first, before staging their defection. Japanese officials will have to inform and consult with South Korean officials first about the matter before simply sending them there. It's all too easy for us armchair politicos to say, "Send them there ASAP!" without thinking about the proper diplomatic channels that must be gone through.

While Japan has always been one of the most generous donors of foreign aid to refugees in other countries, it has been criticized in the past for not allowing in many refugees to stay within its own countries. Fortunately, the last few years have seen Japan turn the corner and allow more refugees in. Hopefully, other Asian nations follow suit. I think somewhere down the line more funding for the housing of refugees and feeding them would help. I wouldn't mind so much to see some of my taxes go toward funding this, and I'm sure other people wouldn't mind too.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Thanks for the video link, Laguna. These poor people are basically trying to survive on a staple of a few small potatoes a day. Millions will be vulnerable this winter I'd imagine. I'm sure the aristocracy of the communist leadership is living like kings...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Great post Hikozaemon. As for the Japanese gov't growing a pair and exercising a little muscle on this issue one can only hope.

Many people may use Japan as a way to migrate.

yeah some to escape crushing poverty, so what's your point?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well they have made it this far through their perilous journey upon their venture to seek democracy and a future for the 3 children. I wish them well in their new life Many thanks to the Japanese Coastguard crew who treated them well. I do hope that they are able to complete their journey to South Korea and that on arrival the future will be all that they hoped for

1 ( +1 / -0 )

While Japan has always been one of the most generous donors of foreign aid to refugees in other countries, it has been criticized in the past for not allowing in many refugees to stay within its own countries. Fortunately, the last few years have seen Japan turn the corner and allow more refugees in. Hopefully, other Asian nations follow suit. I think somewhere down the line more funding for the housing of refugees and feeding them would help. I wouldn't mind so much to see some of my taxes go toward funding this, and I'm sure other people wouldn't mind too.

I agree. I would be glad to see some of our taxes be used to fund and provide assistance to more refugees in the future. After all, it would be going to a good cause. In fact, it would be beneficial to increase income taxes to help encourage and increase more refugees to enter Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Of course they should check with the authorities in NK first. Then you will know. This is a dangerous precident. Many people may use Japan as a way to migrate

North Korea will of course say they are criminals - they left NK without permission. Then what? Send them back for execution? And if people are desperate enough to sail a flimsy boat in the open seas with a very good chance that NK gunboats could blow them out of the water at any moment, they deserve the death penalty? Japan Next! Indeed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The real question is first how to force North Korea to first respect the human rights of the Japanese abductees it still holds and return them, and secondly how to get it to respect the human rights of it's people in general. The nuclear issue is a red herring - returning abductees is not reversible, their nuke program is, as they have shown. It is better to focus on and putting a financial price for DPRK on letting all abductees from all countries go.>

Hikozaeko, what planet are you on? N Korea never did anything to Japan. But wait. From 1910 to 1945 Japan occupied both Koreas, stole, killed etc and you want to talk about threats? It's the N Koreans who fear the us military in Japan, one major reason why they developed WMD. They want a deterrent from further aggression, and don't want to be invaded again. I'm not saying I agree with their policy, but they have good reasons to be worried: US occupies afganistan and Iraq.

Missing people is a problem. I agree. Maybe Japan will help recover the 60,000 or so Koreans still missing during their occupation. Ah but you don't care bout THOSE missing people, do you? Its only bad when they do it. Btw, you're not even on topic.

Japan ratified the UN treaty on refugees. It's obligated to treat these people as refugees. End of story. Be happy they made it. Sadly many do not make it across the waters in those boats and drown. Koreans are people to. Why some of you question if even kids are criminals is astonishing.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Why did they look healthy?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Excuse me, but the citizens of North Korea are only starving, and lacking a descent standard of living because America lost the Korean war and wants to get revenge on the people of North Korea. The sanctions don't harm the leaders. Japan shouldn't have to pay for other countries terrible policies.

-6 ( +4 / -9 )

six months temporary stay? seems very long time...what could be the intentions? just talking big, most likely they will be in SKorea within six days !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

6 months is I believe the length of the tourist visa period.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Expect a Hanryu drama about their story to debut on Fuji TV no later than next February.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't comment on Japanese politics because I'm not knowledgeable to do so. So this comment is different: Japanese Coast Guard ships carry kimchi on them? Is it that popular in Japan?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Photoman333.

Pretty popular here, as is kimchi-nabe and other dishes that use it. You can find it pretty much everywhere.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan places tight restrictions on immigrants and asylum-seekers.

Major understatement. Interesting that this article appears on JT next to the picture of the new "Cool Japan" logo. Sorry, but IMO, there is nothing "cool" about the world's third largest economy and supposedly a force for good in the world to look for ways to turn people away. Japan's track record in this area is deplorable.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I hate the North Korean bastards that run the country, but I do have sympathy towards the suffering North Korean people.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Major understatement. Interesting that this article appears on JT next to the picture of the new "Cool Japan" logo. Sorry, but IMO, there is nothing "cool" about the world's third largest economy and supposedly a force for good in the world to look for ways to turn people away. Japan's track record in this area is deplorable.

Good point. Up until a few years ago, although Japan ranked among the top in foreign aid to refugees in other countries, it had a poor record of allowing refugees into Japan. However, I'm glad that in the past three years, Japan has turned the corner and started to allow more refugees in. Of course, the government should raise taxes more to fund refugees and thus be able to provide more shelter, food, clothing, and language and cultural lessons. I'll also know that my donations to JAR (the Japan Association for Refugees) would go to good use.

http://www.refugee.or.jp/en/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How's this for a theory?:

The people in the boat say: We're from North Korea. Please let us seek refuge in Japan.

Japanese authorities say: "You don't want to live in Japan. You're not allowed to live in Japan. Wouldn't you rather live in South Korea? It's much better than going back to North Korea."

People in the boat say: "Uh..... yeah...... ok. We want to go to South Korea".

Japanese authorities report that North Koreans found drifting in a boat want to defect to South Korea.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am shocked some of the japanese nationalist here did not suggest holding the North Korean refugee as hostage to bargain for the Japanese abductee's return .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Tahoochi: Your theory does not merit a response.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why did they look healthy?

I think the spices and vinegar, salt helps to cut down on their thirst and also suppresses their appetite quite significantly. Add to that some rice, carbs to give them energy, it's not really that surprising that they look healthy. The main thing is that they are safe and made it out alive, many people that try to escape from the North most often don't succeed, so wherever they land, at least they don't have to worry about hunger again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

These guys will be like rock stars amongst their north korean countrymen here, they will be celebrities, but i bet the americans get a chance to debrief them first.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's a good thing they made it to Japan, as they may have been shot to pieces if they were able to go directly to the South Korean coast. I'm sure they are being questioned thoroughly about conditions in North Korea and South Korea probably wants to check them out to the extent possible to make sure they're not spies. Shogun sama would not hesitate to send children along as cover. But their problems are not necessarily over once they get to Seoul. Many defectors face serious difficulty surviving in what to them is an extremely aggressive, competitive, decadent culture.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Could also be fleeing criminals. Send them back.

Or worse. Could be spies, sleeping cells, messengers preparing sabotage or anything. Might as well be unfortunate, desperate people fighting for survival begging for life. The point is we never get to know.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Now we can watch THOUSANDS of beaurocrates in action earning their pay!!

Hurry up already & just get these people to SK so they can start anew!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

rainman1Sep. 15, 2011 - 06:56AM JST

@Tahoochi: Your theory does not merit a response.

Why so, rainman? I would like to hear your reasoning and conclusion on this issue, please.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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