International Symposium on North Korean Human Rights

Public Awareness Week

In June 2006, the North Korean Human Rights Law was established in Japan. This law specifies December 10-16 as the North Korean Human Rights Week and resolves that both governmental and regional institutions shall put forth efforts to increase public awareness of human rights violations by North Korea.

In 2004, the United States passed the North Korean Human Rights Act, and in December 2005, Japan’s General Assembly adopted its Resolution on North Korean Human Rights. This issue, also drawing widespread attention in Europe, has now become international in scope.

NGOs in Japan, with a view to putting the spirit of the law into practice, have often emphasized the importance of cooperation. The NGOs concerned are therefore taking the initiative in realizing this special event.

Severe human rights violations plus the ongoing food crisis have resulted in some 100,000 North Korean defectors fleeing to China. Since they are refused refugee status by the Chinese government, they must remain in hiding.

The Chinese government maintains that “there are no refugees from North Korea,” insisting that “they are all illegal migrants.” Thus, the Chinese government forcibly repatriates them to North Korea where they face inhuman treatment, torture and often death.

Women refugees often become victims of human trafficking, being sold into forced marriages with Chinese men.

Equally appalling, the North Korean government is known to have abducted innocent civilians from Lebanon, Thailand, Malaysia and Japan. While the number of such abductees is unknown, the anguish and pain of their family members are beyond words.

Given the great opportunity of this initiative, it is our aim to focus international attention upon North Korean human rights violations. Special guests and experts are invited to help address the issues, resulting in suggestions for policies and practical solutions.

Japan Executive Committee
Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR)
The Society to Help Returnees to North Korea
Rescue The North Korean People ! Urgent Action Network (RENK)
The National Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea
The Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea
The Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese Probably Related to N. Korea
Japan Lawyers Association for Human Rights Protection in North Korea

US Executive Committee
Freedom House
North Korea Freedom Coalition



Date: December 10, 2006
Venue: Sainokuni Saitama Arts Theater
Tel: 81-048-858-5500
Transportation: West Exit of YONOHONMACHI JR Saikyo Line, 30 minutes from Shinjuku
Eligibility: Open to anyone (registration required)
Fee: Free
Language(translation): Japanese-English, English-Korean, Korean-Japanese


09:30 Open/ Registration
10:00 Greetings from organizer, Prof. Fumiaki Yamada, Representative,
The Society to Help Returnees to North Korea (Mamoru-kai)

Session 1  Truth About North Korea Through Film Images 

How the people affected see the “Return to Paradise Campaign” versus its reality

Screening the Chonlima and panel discussion
       Moderator: Secretary General, Kotaro Miura, Mamoru-kai
10:30    Screening of “ Chonlima”
11:30    Panel Discussion
Mr. Song Yung-bok Bureau Chief of Kanto Area, Mamoru Kai
Mindan (Korean Residents Union in Japan)
Mr. Ryo Hagiwara Author
12:00    Lunch break

Session 2   North Korean Human Rights & Rescue Operation

       Moderator:  Mr. Jiro Ishimaru (journalist)
Discussion points:
Testimony of a North Korean refugee
Persecution of humanitarian activists
What can humanitarian NGOs do?
What can and should be done to increase public awareness and improve the state of human rights violations in North Korea?
13:30    DVD Seoul Train Screening
14:30   Greeting from Saitama Governor
15:00   Symposium
     Special Speakers
Hanmih Family North Korean defectors in Japan Consulate Incidents 2002
Freedom House
Mr. Choi Yong-Hun Humanitarian Aid Worker, Yantai Boat people incident 2003 
Due to health considerations following his imprisonment in China, Mr. Choi will be unable to travel to Japan for this event.
Ms. Suzanne Scholte North Korea Freedom Coalition
Lee Min-bok ex-North Korean Agricultural expert
Prof. Kazuhiro Araki Reprsentative, North Korea Human Rights Radio
16:30   Q & A
17:50   Closing Remarks



Date: December 12, 2006
Venue: International Forum 2F in Institute for International Cooperation,
JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency)
Tel: 81-3-3269-3021
Address: 10-5 Ichigaya
Tokyo 162-8433
Fee: Free
Language: (Translation) Japanese-English, English-Korean, Korean-Japanese


09:30   Open/Registration
10:00   Welcoming Remarks by three Hosts
Mr. Kotaro Miura (the Society to Help Returnees to North Korea)
Mr. Shigeru Yokota (Abduction Family Group)
Dr. Jae Ku (Freedom House)

Session 1 Special Envoy Summit

       Moderator & Speaker:  
Jennifer L. Windsor, ED of Freedom House
10:30   Speeches
Ms. Saiga Fumiko (Japan)
Mr. Jay Lefkowitz (US)
To be decided (Republic of Korea)
Prof. Vitit Muntarbhorn (UN Special Rapporteur on NK Human Rights)
11:30   Q & A
12:00   Lunch
(not yet confirmed that venue can be used for open

Session 2  How to Prepare for a Mass Influx of North Korea Refugees

 Moderator:  Hiroshi Kato, Secretary General,
                  Life Funds for North Korean Refugees
13:20   Greetings from Rep. Hiroshi Nakai
(Vice Chairman, Abduction Rescue Congressional
13:40   Speeches by 7 experts
Ms. Kyoko Nakayama (Advisor to PM Abe)
Mr. Yutaka Kobayashi (LDP)
Mr. Masaharu Nakagawa (DPJ)
Mr. Thomas O. Melia (Deputy Executive Director, Freedom House)
Ms. Suzanne Scholte (Co-Chairwoman, North Korea Freedom Coalition)
Reverend Peter Sohn (American Korean Church Council (KCC))
Mr. Yuh Keun-Ie (Mindan Center for Refugees from North Korea)
15:00   Panel Discussion
Discussion points:
Examination of Resettlement and how information from refugees may be strategically used to help victims of abduction and also to understand the lives of suburban inhabitants in NK.
American Korean Church Council
Freedom House
Ms. Suzanne Scholte
Life Funds for North Korean Refugees
17:00   Closing Remarks