News / Asia

Presumed North Korean Defectors Found in Japanese Waters

A boat is towed by Japanese coast guard patrol vessel (not pictured) after it was found carrying nine people off the coast of Noto Peninsula, in northwestern Japan, September 13, 2011.
A boat is towed by Japanese coast guard patrol vessel (not pictured) after it was found carrying nine people off the coast of Noto Peninsula, in northwestern Japan, September 13, 2011.
TEXT SIZE - +

A boat believed to be carrying nine North Korean defectors has been found drifting off Japan’s western coast. Local officials are trying to determine their identities and how they ended up in Japanese waters.

A Japanese coast guard helicopter located the boat about 25 kilometers off the Noto peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture, after local fisherman tipped them off Monday morning.

The black wooden vessel was just seven to eight meters long and its sides bore Korean Hangul characters. It was carrying three men, three women and three children who are all thought to be related.

Local media said the transport ministry dispatched a coast guard plane and vessel to collect the suspected defectors.

The Japanese Jiji news agency quoted one of the nine as saying, “We are from the North” - an apparent reference to North Korea.

Meanwhile, coast guard officials were preparing to tow their boat back to port in the prefectural capital, Kanazawa, before questioning them. None of the purported defectors required medical attention.

Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, says one of the passengers had expressed a desire to go to South Korea. It also says that one of the men told coast guard officials he was a member of the Korean People’s Army and that the other eight people were his relatives.

Japan is an unusual destination for North Koreans hoping to flee repression and poverty in the communist state.

The boat’s discovery in Japanese waters has fueled speculation that it may have drifted east across the Japan Sea after the passengers failed to make landfall in South Korea. Most North Korea defectors cross the border into northeast China, before continuing on to South Korea, where they are eligible for government assistance.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry says more than 21,000 North Korean defectors have entered the South since the end of hostilities in the 1950-1953 Korean War.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid