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Sending Korean Residents to North Korea is Expulsion Policy by Japan

Sending Korean Residents to North Korea is Expulsion Policy by Japan

Posted May. 18, 2004 21:37,   


The program of sending Korean residents in Japan to North Korea, which was strongly supported by the Japanese government and non-governmental organizations starting from 1959 under the name of humanitarianism, was actually designed to mitigate the “causes of anxiety: the high crime rate and poverty,” Japan’s Asahi Shimbun reported on May 18.

According to findings from Professor Kawashima Takane of Meiji University based on data from the Japanese Foreign Ministry, “Cabinet authorized” data of the Japanese government dated February 13, 1959 indicates that “the object of sending Korean residents to North Korea is based on the international common idea that the freedom of choosing one’s place of residence is a component of basic human rights.”

But a document titled, “Inside affairs for reaching cabinet authorization,” which has been kept top secret so far, emphasizes the political aspects of the sending program, saying that “Korean residents in Japan have higher crime rates, and about 1.7 billion yen is needed every year for supporting the 19,000 households that are categorized as livelihood-protection families. Public opinion is to send the problematic people to North Korea if they apply for it, and this overwhelmingly leads the opinion of the ruling party.”

As for the timing of the program, “If it is implemented after the resumption of Korea-Japan meetings aiming at the normalization of their diplomatic relationship, it will create a strong sensation. We will get rid of the biggest obstacle when the meeting is suspended,” indicating the document, showing that the cabinet had considered the criticism of Korea and was making haste.

At that time, Inoue Matsudaro, the former Foreign Affairs Department of the Japanese Red Cross, who took charge of the negotiation between North Korea, has focused on the telegram dated March 24, 1959, saying that “it is necessary for the people who are scheduled to be sent to North Korea to be aware that they will not be able to return to Japan again.”

As for this, Professor Kawashima has interpreted that “The Japanese government at that time drove forward the program of sending people to North Korea by concealing the fact that their re-entry into Japan would become nearly impossible. It tried to solve a social problem not by conducting fundamental reforms, but by reducing the target of the problem.”

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com