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North Koreans Protest Alleged Human Rights Abuses in Japan


Thousands of North Koreans took to the streets in Japan Saturday to protest alleged human rights abuses from authorities there who are suspicious of their connections to Pyongyang.

Protesters gathered at a park in Tokyo today in front of posters of Kim Jong-il and marched in the streets protected by police. Protesters allege that they are being unfairly targeted by authorities and harassed.

They called for an end to the alleged discrimination and the resumption of ferry services to North Korea that Tokyo shut down after Pyongyang's nuclear test last October.

Tokyo has been cracking down on the activities of a residents group for North Koreans living in Japan, accusing it of illegal activities.

More than 500,000 Koreans live in Japan. Many were brought to Japan as forced laborers during its colonization of the Korea peninsula (1910-1945).

In February, North Korea agreed to shut down its main nuclear facility in exchange for fuel aid and steps toward normalization of relations with Japan and the United States.

Japan has been hesitant to fully back the agreement, saying it wants North Korea to first make efforts to resolve the issue of Pyongyang's past abductions of its citizens.

Japanese and North Korean officials will meet in Vietnam next week to discuss the normalization of relations.

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