Japan Sends North Korean Defectors to South Korea

Posted October 3rd, 2011 at 11:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Nine North Korean defectors are scheduled to arrive in South Korea Tuesday, nearly a month after leaving their country in a rare seaborne defection.

The six adults and three children have been held in a Japanese immigration facility since they were found on September 13 drifting in a small wooden boat near the port city of Kanazawa. The defectors, led by a man who says he has worked with the North Korean military, told authorities they left their country five days earlier in an attempt to reach South Korea.

South Korean officials say they will handle the matter from a humanitarian perspective, and in accordance with the defectors' wishes.

Immediately after their arrival in Seoul, the group will be sent to a resettlement center for North Korea defectors.

In a similar case four years ago, Japan sent a family of four North Korean defectors to South Korea after a two-week investigation.

Hundreds of North Koreans defect each year to the South, mainly by crossing over the North's border with China.