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LFNKR Director Publishes Book in Japan
April 21, 2010

Noguchi Takayuki,
one of this organization's directors, relates how he was jailed in China in 2003 for engaging in humanitarian work. His book, "Escaping with North Korean Defectors," was released on April 10, 2010.  

book cover

Noguchi, a young volunteer with a Japanese NGO, was on a mission to guide North Korean defectors to freedom, but ended up jailed in China for 243 days.

Success, Failure and Imprisonment

A young Japanese man begins a risky mission to help North Korean refugees escape across the China border into Vietnam.

Below is an article by Noguchi Takayuki, now a director of LFNKR, announcing the publication of his first book. 

Six and a half years ago, in December 2003, I was arrested, together with two North Korean refugees in Nanning, Guangxi Province, China. I was quickly tried and held in prison for 243 days. Following my release, I began writing about my experiences while helping North Korean refugees escape from China, and also my life while in the Chinese jail in Nanning.  It took me this long to complete my book (1,890 yen), and it will be on Amazon and in bookstores throughout Japan starting on April 10. 

Excerpt from the book:

“Through a window of my hotel, I could see the entire square in front of the Halpin Station.  The station house is magnificent, well suited to the capital of Heilongjang.  The large clock in the front wall of the station says it is 10:35pm. 

On that day, I had left home at 5:00am to catch a flight.  I should have been exhausted, but instead I was too wired to sleep because tomorrow, at 7:00am, I would meet two North Korean defectors beneath that large clock.

The two defectors were sisters and had originally been ethnic Korean residents of Japan.  The elder sister, Toshiko Yamada, was now 45 years old, and her younger sister, Emiko, 35.  Their parents had taken them to North Korea when the family immigrated in 1977.  Toshiko had been in her second year of high school, and her younger sister had been only 8 years old at the time.

Next morning, the two sisters and I embarked upon the long, risky journey to escape. We started from the northeastern part of China and headed toward Southeast Asia.  That trip was successful, and I am delighted that they both are now happily living new lives in Japan.

The book also details many of my experiences during my 243-day imprisonment in a Chinese jail following my arrest in December 2003 in Nanning.

The human rights situation in North Korea regrettably remains largely unchanged since 2003, but worse, the public’s interest in the North Korean human rights issue is fading.  We should not forget the millions of suffering people in North Korea and in northeastern China.  I sincerely hope my book will help raise the world’s awareness of this issue.

A portion of all book sales will be donated to the LFNKR organization. 


Takayuki Noguchi and executive director Kato with six North Korean refugees successfully escorted out of China to Vietnam in 2002.


Noguchi with 3 NK refugees
Takayuki Noguchi just before leaving Beijing with three North Korean refugees in 2003. This mission also ended in success.

Links to the original story

China Jails Another Japanese Aid Worker
For Press Conference Jan. 13, 2004

Mr. Takayuki Noguchi (32), a member of the Japanese NGO Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR), disappeared on December 10, 2003 while in China. The LFNKR home office has not heard from Noguchi since Dec. 10, following a routine check-in phone call on that date from Guilin, Guangxi in China at 11:45 AM (Japan time).

China May Try LFNKR Worker Takayuki Noguchi
On March 19, Mainichi Newspaper reported that Chinese prosecutors have decided to try Takayuki Noguchi, age 32, a member of our NGO, who was arrested with two Japan-born North Korean refugees in Nanning on December 10, 2003.

Chinese Prison Holding Noguchi
Japanese Lawmaker, Masaharu Nakagawa was refused permission to meet with Noguchi during his trip to the prison in Nanning. He was allowed, however, to take photos of the buildings.

China to Prosecute Japanese Humanitarian Noguchi
On the 118th day following his arrest, charges were filed against Noguchi at the intermediate people's court in Nanning, China on April 5, 2004.

Noguchi May Face Hurry-Up Trial in China
Takayuki Noguchi, the Japanese aid worker arrested by China last December, will be tried in early May, according to reports by Yomiuri Shimbun, the leading Japanese newspaper, in a 2 May, 2004 article by Hong Kong based reporter Yasuharu Seki.

Noguchi's Closed-Door Trial Held on a Sunday
The trial of Takayuki Noguchi, the Japanese aid worker arrested by China last December, was convened at 9:00AM Sunday, 9 May 2004, China time in Chong Zuo Intermediate People's Court. The time seemed deliberately chosen to minimize public attention. Noguchi was technically given an "open trial," but...

Noguchi Sentenced to 8 Months in Jail
Noguchi was charged with one count of illegally transporting people with the intent of crossing the border (Article 321 of the Chinese Domestic Criminal Code) and an additional count of attempting to assist in illegally crossing the border (Article 61). He was sentenced to 8 months in prison and fined 20,000 RMB (about US$2,778).

Mother Allowed to See Noguchi in Jail
Thanks to the intervention of Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Noguchi's mother and one of his aunts were allowed to visit him briefly in Nanning.

Takayuki Noguchi Returns From Chinese Prison
At approximately 9:00 PM on 9th August, Takayuki Noguchi walked through the arrival gate at Narita Airport, after having served an 8-month prison sentence for attempting to assist two Japan-born North Korean refugees.