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Nine N Korean boat people reach Japan

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© 2011 AFP

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Given the weather conditions lately they are VERY lucky to make the crossing in a small wooden boat! I hope the Japanese at least treat them with a little dignity before deporting them to South Korea (where I'm sure they want to go anyway!)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japanese immigration, treat someone with dignity? Hahaha. Good joke.

I truely hope these people make it to south Korea as soon as possible.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Japan accepts very few asylum seekers. I believe people can only be deported to their country of origin?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Deportation to North Korea would mean a death sentence (public execution). Japan should make arrangements with South Korea to take them in.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Well I think Japan will ignore the international law and will send them to S. Korea, if that country agrees but it might still have to be via China so not to upset N.Korea.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Why would Japan have to worry about upsetting North Korea? Could the bad blood get any worse?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Here are two precedents from another article:

In 2007, a family of four North Korean defectors – a couple and two adult sons – traveled in an open boat for six days to reach northern Japan. They were the first defectors from the country to arrive by boat in Japan in 20 years. The four said they were trying to escape extreme poverty and asked for asylum in South Korea, where they were sent.

In 1987, 11 crew members of a North Korean ship arrived at a port in western Japan and later defected to South Korea via Taiwan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan accepts very few asylum seekers. I believe people can only be deported to their country of origin?

Mm, I thought that was the situation under international law, but maybe this is one of those cases where Japan joins an international treaty on condition that it can ignore or change any clauses that it takes objection to. Considering in this case the N Koreans probably fancy their chances more in S Korea, and that S Korea is probably willing to take them in, that will mesh nicely with Japan's wish to get rid of them, pronto.

And yes, some countries welcome them, Japan rejects most of the tiny number who are desperate enough to try their chances here. It prefers to refuse them asylum but allow them to stay as a special case, in order to wriggle out of its treaty obligations to "bona fide" asylum seekers.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Japan places tight restrictions on immigrants and asylum-seekers."

Pretty much worst in the world, and definitely among industrialized nations. Still, they're likely to take them in for a short time and arrange passage to SKorea (via Taiwan or otherwise), so that's something. Best of luck to these people.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@Zichi

There is no requirement to return an asylum seeker to their country of origin. Under the 1951 Refugee Convention Japan is prohibited from refoulement, i.e. sending the refugee back into a state of persecution. No problem sending them to South Korea, I expect they may have passed through South Korean maritime borders anyway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

118and

thanks for the info but will japan even accept that they are asylum seekers. Wonder why they didn't just go to S.Korea? Maybe that was their plan in the first place?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They were in a tiny wooden boat, with no navigation, very lucky to be alive, I think expecting them to be able to navigate safey to S Korea all whilst evading N Korean security is a bit much to ask. I expect OUT was their main hope, with all else being secondary.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

send them to a south american country. best way to prevent spending money on what could be north korean spies.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Say something in Russian to them and I bet they understand. Come on, with bomber flying above, they are obviously Russian Special Forces.

-5 ( +2 / -6 )

All asylum seeker in S.Korea have to spend a time in detention to ensure they are not N.Korean spies.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Just get them to safety first, a good meal ,dry clothes and a warm bed. They were desperate enough to take all the risks in their perilous journey to escape an unjust regime, so treat them with the dignity that they deserve.Whether thereafter they are allowed to remain in Japan or to be dispatched to China or South Korea is a problem for another day, but please not back to North Korea

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Asagao, don't be so fool. The only way to go to Japan escaping from Russian KGB is through Sakhalin. They are obviously not Russian.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So glad to hear that they made it. I can only wish them all the best for their future.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It appears, their original destination was S.Korea but they were unable to stop the 8 meter boat from drifting. The S.Korean government have stated that they would be willing to take them once the Japanese finish their investigation, which they also hoped would be shared with the S.Koreans.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

send them to a south american country. best way to prevent spending money on what could be north korean spies.

Send them to Sunhawks' neighbourhood I say.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japan places tight restrictions on immigrants and asylum-seekers.

I don't think they have any intention of staying here. I'd say South Korea is where they want to go.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan accepts very few asylum seekers. I believe people can only be deported to their country of origin?

Even if this were the case, it would still allow for Japan to 'repatriate' them to South Korea without contravening any domestic or international laws. The DPRK (North Korea) and the RoK (South Korea) both claim sovereignty over the whole of the Korean Peninsula, and don't recognise the other regime as having legitimate jurisdiction. Japan only has diplomatic relations with South Korea, thus it recognises the South Korean claim, and can thus send a North Korean citizen to South Korea, where they may gain South Korean citizenship.

Fun fact: if you travel to North Korea from South Korea, you are classed as having travelled domestically by South Korean Immigration.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And I agree with Christina O'Neill; the least Japan can do for people who have risked death or torture to escape that hellhole is to provide them with decent hospitality. A warm bed, a hot meal, and dry clothes. It's probably better than anything they received in North Korea.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm guessing Japan's immigration will keep them warm. Now if there were any children aboard Japan will definitely keep the children.

The court will say: "it's in the best interest if the child that he stay here in a safe environment until further notice".

I love how they say "Tori-eyes" Tori-eyes sounds like = You are too chicken to look you in the eye and say I ain't gonna do anything so I gotta bs you.

Funny how Japan is so similar to North Korea when it comes to children from other countries.

-2 ( +1 / -2 )

They were officially declared 脱北者 (defectors from the North) by the Japanese government . They will get protection by Article6 Section 2 of the" Act on Handling of Abduction Issues and Other Human Right Issues Related to North Korean Authorities". They were already given tea and rice balls. They will spend the night on the Coast Guard ship and handed over to immigration authorities on the 14th or later.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Most likely they will be sent on to South Korea after some questioning in Japan. South Korea has a resettlement programme for those who defect from the North. They apparently get treated quite well and are paid an allowance etc. Also, language-wise, South Korea is the obvious choice for them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why would Japan have to worry about upsetting North Korea? Could the bad blood get any worse?

Yes, then they would start crying and doing all they do all the time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Comments criticising Japan's immigration and policies towards asylum seekers are ridiculously irrelevant to this article. These people have made it clear that they wanted to get to South Korea and Japan has assisted such situations in the past and will undoubtedly do so now. Bringing up children is even more ridiculous. The only criticism that is justified here is of the North Korean government which runs a country in such a manner that familes risk their lives like this to get out.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

OssanAmerica, it is nice to read your comment again. I am on the same page as yours on this. -ditto-

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

One can only wonder how much time this weird place run on the whims and by nutty Kim family has left? The end won't be pretty with millions of brainwashed, undereducated, under nourished wanting the good life in the South. Not pretty at all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree with OssanAmerica.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

When people take the very likely risk of death on the ocean just to get away you got to ask yourself what on earth these poor people have been through and what they are running from.

Im just glad they made it safely and i am sure the J immigration are not going to treat them badly - why would they? They dont want to stay here, they just want to get on to South Korea (I would imagine).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“The boat carried rice and pickles on board,”

How would they cook the rice on a rickety old wooden boat?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pre-cooked rice by any change? Pickles are bad as they dehydrate you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@JapanGal

Already cooked I guess. Like onigiri.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They will be sent to South Korea sooner or later...........

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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