[imText1]In response to the 4 defectors who entered Japan via a boat on the morning of June 2nd, Prime Minister Abe announced that the persons would be dealt with from a humanitarian perspective.
According to reports, Prime Minister Abe made a speech at Shibuya Station in Tokyo on the 3rd saying, “Japan is a country which respects human rights and freedom” and added, “I promise that a humanitarian response will be made.”
The 4 North Korea defectors were handed over to the police on the 2nd after being caught on a small boat in Fukaura port in Aomori.
For now, the defectors are being investigated under illegal entry by Aomori police. During the investigation, the defectors revealed, “We left Chongjin, North Korea on May 27th” and testified, “We want to go to South Korea.”
The defectors should be able to enter South Korea under “temporal protection landing permit” Japanese media report. Further, even without a permit, the defectors can leave for other third country and hence there is little possibility of the defectors being repatriated back to North Korea.
In January 1987, there was a case where 11 North Koreans boarded a boat destined for Japans’ Fukui Port. On arrival, they sought entry to South Korea. North Korea requested that the defectors be returned, however, the Japanese government sent the refugees to Taiwan. Following, they eventually took refuge in South Korea.
Regarding this case, Minister of Foreign Affairs Song Min Soon revealed, “This case will be handled with utmost respect to humanitarian principles.”
The 4 defectors have been confirmed to belong to one family, a father in his late 50s and wife in early 60s and their two sons, in their late 20s and 30s. The family is in a healthy condition and on inspecting their belongings, it does not seem likely that they are spies or the like, Japanese reports stated.