Officials at the Japanese embassy in Beijing say eight people believed to be North Koreans have entered a Japanese school in the Chinese capital and asked for asylum.
The six women, one man and a young child are reported to have used a ladder to climb over a wire fence surrounding the school early this Wednesday morning. They were carrying a note in English that said they are refugees who want to be sent to South Korea.
The group was later taken to the Japanese embassy.
Human rights groups believe some 300,000 North Koreans have fled to China to escape poverty and persecution. In the past, China has allowed many of the North Koreans to travel to South Korea through a third country, despite a treaty obligating them to return such individuals to the North.
Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.