Category Archives: Resettling in Japan

LFNKR Annual Meeting, Oct. 12, 2015

Tokyo the Site of 18th Annual Meeting

A report on LFNKR activities during the past year was presented at the Annual Meeting. Perhaps the single most important issue is how the past several years have brought significant changes to the conditions facing North Korean refugees. Part of the change is due to the drastically tightened crackdown along the China-North Korea border. The crackdown is particularly stringent on the North Korea side, making it increasingly difficult to escape from North Korea.

In fact, over the past two years, rescue operations for assisting North Korean defectors in reaching safe third countries have fallen to almost nothing. This is new to our organization. The focus of our activities, therefore, has already begun shifting away from rescue operations, although we still stand ready to assist any NK refugees wherever possible. Now the emphasis is increasingly on helping former defectors resettle in Japan and on generating publicity to help boost public awareness of the human rights abuses in North Korea. This includes the publication of books related to the human rights outrages in that country.

Among those attending the Annual Meeting were four former North Korean defectors, Mr. I.K, Miss K.H, Miss J.L, and Baby Sumi’s mother, who each presented updates on their life in Japan now.

Mr. I.K. and his family were the first North Korean family that LFNKR helped to escape and resettle in Japan (1999). He and his wife are now running a successful business, a thriving guest house, in Osaka.

Refer to previous article: Settling and Surviving in Japan.  

Miss K.H. said that she is studying very hard in preparation for the national nursing qualification exam coming in March.

Refer to previous article: Set a Goal and Tackle it for Best Results:

Miss J.L. is attending a dental hygienist college in Tokyo and also works as a part-time assistant at a dental office. She has had overcome hardships, including being arrested in Laos as she made her way to Japan. However, once in Japan, in barely two years she passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Exam, Level One. She has surprised us all, speaking almost perfect and fluent Japanese.

And baby Sumi’s mother showed us new pictures of Sumi, now 4 years old, dancing happily at her preschool. In addition to the new business, Sumi’s mother told us, she has also recently started a group to provide mutual aid among North Korean women who have resettled in Japan.

Please see Baby Sumi Celebrates First Birthday.

Or read Former NK Refugee Starts New Business

Listening to the speeches of these courageous people, we were deeply impressed by their great efforts. We are very proud of them and of all of those we have rescued.

One Volunteer’s Story

Ever wonder who does the behind-the-scenes work in an NGO like ours?

A while back Hiroshi Kato, who heads this organization, posted a call for volunteers – someone to help LFNKR with translation work. Since this NGO is made up almost exclusively of volunteers, and there’s always more to do than time available, we are always delighted to hear from those wanting to help.

One young lady in the US, a “Mrs M,” contacted us offering her assistance. Only thing was, she wasn’t sure her skills were good enough. We sent her a couple of short articles to try, and as it turns out, her skills were excellent. She’s been translating for us ever since.

And then the other day we wondered, would readers be interested in hearing how one volunteer started?

We thought that you, our readers, might indeed be interested, so here it is – Mrs M’s story:

“Blessing House” – Settling and surviving in Japan

First Japanese Entry Permit, First Japanese Guest House Permit

By Igawa Fukuko

After entering Japan, our family faced continuous hardship for one or two years.
Our family escaped from North Korea and were given entry into Japan in 2000 with absolutely no money or skills. We were anxious about what kind of life was waiting for us from here on. In any case, we felt at least secure that we probably would not starve to death.

Update – 3 Ladies Who Defected

 Steady Progress in 3 Careers

Here are three young ladies whom LFNKR has helped resettle in Japan, and updates on their progress as they work toward establishing new careers.

beauticianMs. E has worked a number of different jobs, and eventually she decided to become a beautician.  So, after she gained her Japanese high school diploma via correspondence, she took the entrance exam for a famous beautician’s college in Tokyo, which of course she passed.  She tells us that she is looking forward to learning this new skill. She is confident that by becoming a beautician her expertise will enable her to help those who need encouragement and others who may need their spirits lifted through her skills.

Set a Goal and Tackle it for Best Results

Former NK refugee aims at certified nurse

Here is an update from Miss K. H., the young North Korean defector who is now studying to become a nurse in Tokyo. Like Sumi’s mother (in the previous post), this young lady also reported on her current activities at the recent LFNKR annual meeting.

It will soon be 2 years since I entered the nursing school in April 2013.  Time is flying by as I scramble to keep up with the heavy curriculum schedule, which includes the weekly exams, the events and all the practical training. 

Former NK Refugee Starts New Business

Former NK refugee starts a new business

LFNKR has helped many North Korean refugees to escape and resettle in Japan. Here is one of those success stories. This young lady attended LFNKR’s recent annual meeting, where she caught us up on her current activities. This report is from the mother of Baby Sumi, now age two (check the links below for more details). Here is a summary of her presentation.

Joint Statement to Prime Minister Abe

Joint Statement from Five
Japanese & Korean NGOs


To Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Request for the Permanent Resettlement in Japan of all Japanese Spouses and Family (including grandchildren) of Ethnic Koreans “Repatriated” to North Korea on the occasion of the Stockholm Agreement between Japan and North Korea

On the occasion of the July 1 initiation of the Japan-North Korea government-level consultations, we would like to express our deepest respect for your commitment to resolving humanitarian problems including the issue of helping those abducted by North Korea.

Doing Well in Nursing School

Former NK refugee loves nursing school

Nursing School, First Year Done


Update from former NK refugee

Miss K. H., one of the North Korean defectors we helped rescue four years ago, just sent us an update on her progress in nursing school. As you may recall from ourearlier article last year, she is a former North Korean defector who has resettled in Japan.