About 200 refugees from North Korea have settled in Japan in recent years with most of them being Korean-Japanese who moved to North Korea from Japan some decades back.
Professor Tessa Morris-Suzuki says, “There is a every reason to believe that the number of these refugees will increase substantially in the near future, as economic collapse and foot shortages lead growing numbers to make the dangerous journey out of North Korea.”
However, the Japanese government has no clear policy on the issue, and offers no assistance to the refugees as they struggle to readjust to life in Japan.
A total of 600,000 Koreans live in Japan and a substantial number of Zainichi Koreans (Koreans who have lived in Japan since the colonial period and their descendants) are critical of the South Korean government and either identified themselves more closely with North Korea, or defined themselves as nationals of a yet-to-be created reunited Korea.
“Former Zainichi Koreans are now escaping from North Korea across the border into China and seeking to go back to Japan by various routes,” the professor said.
[The Korea Herald]