Japan Mulls Shelter for N.Korean Refugees in Kyushu

      November 20, 2017 09:32

      Japan is considering building a temporary shelter for North Korean refugees in Kyushu in case of a war on the Korean Peninsula, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported last week.

      The Japanese government also plans to step up patrols along the coasts to prevent North Korean agents from entering and to take North Korean boat people to port before determining if they are genuine refugees.

      "Kyushu is the most likely location for the facility," the daily wrote.

      Tokyo believes that if the U.S. launches military strikes on North Korea, "tens of thousands of evacuees could reach the Japanese coast by wooden boats and other means," the daily said.

      "If North Korean agents or terrorists successfully enter the country disguised as evacuees, it is feared they could target vital facilities such as those of U.S. Forces Japan, the Self-Defense Forces and nuclear power plants," it added.

      In April, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told lawmakers that Tokyo is preparing for the eventuality.

      Japanese leaders are also talking about how to evacuate Japanese people living in South Korea. On Nov. 9, Shigeru Ishiba, a former secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, mentioned the possibility of dispatching Japanese troops, saying, "We aren't going to let the U.S. military alone help Japanese expats evacuate from South Korea."

      Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera agreed with Gen. Vincent Brooks, the commander of the U.S. Forces Korea, in Tokyo last Wednesday to cooperate in evacuating both Japanese and American nationals from South Korea in a war.

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