The Japanese government has moved nine North Koreans who were found adrift in a small wooden fishing boat to immigration facilities in Nagasaki in preparation for sending them to South Korea.
Tokyo on Wednesday granted them a temporary landing permit and moved them to immigration facilities in Omura, Nagasaki Prefecture, a spokesman said.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Japanese government questioned the nine on a coast guard patrol boat at Kanazawa Port and confirmed that they fled North Korea in a bid to defect to South Korea. It usually takes a week or two to send them to South Korea, but the Japanese government is speeding up the procedure.
In June 2007, Japan sent a North Korean family of four who had drifted to Aomori to South Korea after about two weeks.
Meanwhile, a man who claims he represents the refugees said they were squid fishermen tasked with raising funds for the North Korean army.