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Tokyo letting ethnic Koreans back


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
Tokyo letting ethnic Koreans back into Japan from N. Korea

The government said Friday it has been allowing Korean former residents of Japan to resettle here after they flee North Korea by giving them resident status again.
"We are considering the situations of each individual and providing them with appropriate (types of) resident status," the government said in a written response to questions from opposition Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Tetsuji Nakamura.

It said that those who have fled North Korea and have entered and settled here include "those with Japanese citizenship and those without it," referring to Korean former residents of Japan who moved to the North under a 1959-1984 "repatriation" program. The government said it is offering initial assistance to those who cannot receive support from their relatives in Japan so they can get accustomed to their new environment and live independently in Japan.

But it expressed caution over enacting new legislation to facilitate such support. "We understand there is debate on the matter, but we will continue considerations while seriously taking into account...the safety of those involved and the humanitarian consideration," the government said.

About 93,000 pro-Pyongyang Korean residents of Japan and their families went to North Korea under the repatriation program. Among them were 6,800 Japanese, including 1,800 wives. A number of them have since fled North Korea to China, complaining of difficult living conditions and persecution in the communist North, and returned to Japan with the help of Tokyo.

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