Tag Archives: lfnkr

Kato Pleased with Happily Resettled North Korean Families

 

It’s well worth it

Hiroshi Kato

Hiroshi Kato, the executive director of LFNKR, participated July 3 in the annual exchange party for NK refugees held in Osaka.  Joining the party were about 50 former North Korean defectors who have resettled in the Kansai region (south-western half of Japan, including Osaka).  Attending were three generations, ranging from babies under the age of one up to 70 years-old.

Kato was overwhelmed by their boundless energy.  They sang and danced to Karaoke without a break for three hours straight.  He was very impressed by their extremely good singing … and by their dancing, which surprise him. He saw waltzes and jitterbugging rather than more traditional Korean dances.

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.

A Whole New Look

Website Facelift

See anything different? Silly question, right? You’re probably already noticing the new look. Here at NorthKoreanRefugees.com we’re in the process of changing our site’s appearance. Starting today, we’re sporting an entirely new, more streamlined style.

The old look was a very new look back in 2002, when we first launched this site. But time marches on – especially on the Internet – and the very newest thing can be superseded very quickly by technology that works better, faster and more transparently. 

2014 Annual Report

2014 Annual Report Overview
Date: November 29, 2014
 

From 17th Gen. Meeting Oct. 19, 2014

Introduction
As a member of the ICNK, LFNKR has been actively working with other international NGO members to help the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate North Korean human rights violations. Primary activities include providing investigation materials, as well as related North Korean and Chinese written laws and regulations, testimonies by previous detainees at the notorious death camps and their relatives, public hearings of North Korean defectors and nonofficial interviews with North Korean defectors.

Follow LFNKR on Twitter

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Follow LFNKR on Twitter


Here Are LFNKR’s Latest Tweets


 


What We Look for in an Intern

If You’ve Ever Thought of Internship…

Throughout the year, Life Funds for North Korean Refugees receives inquiries from students interested in doing an internship with us. We’re excited by all the enthusiasm for North Korean human rights issues that this represents, and we wish that we could take on some of these impressive candidates.

7 NK Refugees Waiting for Help

Seven NK Refugees awaiting Rescue

Low Funds Delay Rescue Mission – Can You Help?

For a while now, LFNKR has been working quietly with a couple of South Korean NGO partners. Currently, we are ready to launch missions that will result in the rescue of a total of seven North Korean defectors (3 families and one woman) now hiding in China. However, due to a depleted rescue budget, we find ourselves unable to implement the first step of this rescue plan.

Changed Life – Unchanged Heart

By Keiko Kawai

(name changed for security)

Fifteen years ago I left my parents, brothers and friends behind and set out for Japan, a country whose ways I knew nothing about. This move has brought dramatic changes to my life; meanwhile my heart – my determination and my commitment to a better life – has never wavered.

Speech — “Inside North Korea”

LFNKR's Hiroshi Kato

Address to International Media Forum

Mr. Hiroshi Kato, executive director of LFNKR, was invited to the International Media Forum event titled “Inside North Korea” held on April 1 at Roppongi Hills in Tokyo. The Forum had 41 participants, including NGO groups, Japanese and foreign media and diplomats. Mr. Kato’s gave an outline of this group’s activities along with some specific figures.

2013 LFNKR Annual Report Overview

From 16th General Meeting. Oct. 20, 2013

Introduction

LFNKR, in FY2012 (Sept. 1, 2012 to August 31, 2013), has witnessed improved awareness in the international community with respect to the North Korean human rights issue. The International Coalition to Stop Crimes against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK), was established in Sept. 2011. This organization, which includes 43 international NGOs in 15 countries, is engaged in lobbying activities. The ICNK group in Japan, of which LFNKR is also a member, has repeatedly visited Japanese Diet lawmakers and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) as well as a number of foreign embassies in Tokyo.

Kato Addresses Meiji University

LFNKR's Kato speaks to Meiji University

 

Seeking Solutions to the Problem

Mr. Hiroshi Kato, the secretary-general of LFNKR, and an expert on North Korean human rights issues, is often invited by leading Japanese universities to speak on this topic. Below is an outline of a recent lecture. It was presented at Meiji University on the 7th of November 2013. These lectures often inspire young people to join in our human rights activities.

Emergency Aid Project to Send 10 Tons of Corn Noodles

Heaviest Rains in 40 Years Catastrophically Damage Grain Crops in North Korea

LFNKR local staff reports – the heaviest rains in 40 years have caused serious damage to grain producing areas in North Korea, including Hwanghae-do and Pyong-an Namdo. These two areas already suffered severe damage during the two previous years, and now they have been hit again. This, before they had a chance to recover from the devastation of last year and the year before.

UN Inquiries Revealing Human Rights Horrors

Shin Dong-hyuk addresses UN Commission

Reuters Reports on Revelations

We at LFNKR are glad to report that real results are beginning to flow from the U.N. Commission of Inquiry into North Korea human rights violations and whether those violations amount to crimes against humanity. We reported, back in May, that the Commission had been convened and was about to start its investigations. 

Click here for the original article.

Rescues Stalled for Lack of Funds

More NK Refugees Awaiting Rescue – Help Us Get Them to Safety

LFNKR has received desperate cries for help from NK defectors. A severely physically handicapped father, 59, and his two sons (ages 27 and 25) have risked their lives to escape from North Korea. They are now in Yanji, waiting for us to help them make it the rest of the way to South Korea.

LFNKR Statement on the 9 Repatriated Orphans

These 9 Orphans Are Only the Latest Outrage

Since 1998, Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR), a Japanese NGO based in Tokyo, has been engaged in the rescue of North Korean refugees suffering from tragic conditions in China and some Southeast Asian countries.

UN Commission to Investigate NK Human Rights Crimes

The efforts of LFNKR, as a member of the ICNK (International Coalition to Stop Crimes against Humanity in North Korea), have helped lead to establishment of a Commission of Inquiry (COI), which is now ready to begin its investigation. The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution establishing on March 21, 2013 a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate the grievous human rights violations in North Korea and to determine whether those violations amount to crimes against humanity. 

Book on NK Death Camp Published in Japanese

'Death Camp' Book Published

Many Stories of Wanton Cruelty

Last month, LFNKR published the Japanese-language version of the book ‘Chongo-ri Kyo Hwa So’ for release in Japan. This book contains facts, information and stories from interviews with 8,934 North Korean defectors, including 81 who had been detained at Chongo-ri Kyo Hwa So, more commonly known as the “Death Camp”.  Many of the stories include horrifying colored sketches drawn by a few of the former detainees at the Death Camp. 

Intern Gains Experience with LFNKR

Japan Members, ICNK (International Coalition to Stop Crimes against Humanity in North Korea)

Report by LFNKR’s Lobbying Intern

Becoming an intern with one phone call

My name is Yuzuru Sakaguchi, and I have been an intern with LFNKR since August 1st. I came to Tokyo from Nagano, and I am currently living on my own in the city. In the summer of my second year of high school I started studying the Korean Peninsula, because I was moved by a sense of wanting to see justice accomplished and that, “something must be done.…” I still vividly remember feeling appalled as I watched exclusive footage of North Korea on television, and even now that sense of wanting justice remains in my heart.

LFNKR’s 2012 Annual Report

Annual Report Released at 15th General Meeting 10/8/2012

Attending LFNKR’s 15th Annual Meeting in Tokyo this year were five North Korean defectors who have settled in Japan. They talked about how they had managed to survive and how they made a living in North Korea. They also discussed some of the difficulties they endured before finally making it to Japan.

10,000 Expected to Starve in NK Drought

2012 Brings Hwanghae’s Worst Drought in 60 Years

Field Report:  10,000 Expected to Starve

Information coming in from LFNKR’s grass-roots network in North Korea indicates that the drought and starvation are seriously affecting South Hwanghae Province. The drought advancing on the granaries of North Korea is wreaking havoc on the harvest, and threatening widespread starvation.

South Korean Embassy in Bangkok Told of Orphans

Notified by email

To help assure that the two North Korean orphans suffering from tuberculosis will immediately receive all necessary health care, LFNKR emailed the following message to the South Korean Embassy in Bangkok on Aug. 7, 2012.

Sending in the Choco Pies

North Koreans want Choco Pies

Help Send Choco Pies of Love for Valentine’s Day

Choco pies have become the most famous snacks among North Korean workers in Kaeson Industrial Park (see details below), but outside this one limited area, the rest of North Korea has little idea of the everyday luxuries available to the rest of the world.

LFNKR Translates White Paper on NK Human Rights

  

LFNKR announces its translation into Japanese of the 410-page “White Paper on Human Rights” published by the Korea Institute for National Unification. This is the first time a Japanese version of the white paper has been available. The paper, originally published in the Korean language in 2010, is a detailed report on human rights issues in North Korea. We believe that the translated version will help more Japanese understand the human rights situation in North Korea.

Kato Answers Emails of Concern

In Answer to All Your Emails - From LFNKR's Kato Hiroshi
Since March 11, Japan has experienced an unprecedented series of catastrophic events. The emails pouring in to LFNKR from our friends both in Japan and abroad have been asking if we are safe, as well as offering encouragement and assistance. All of us at LFNKR deeply appreciate your concern and your kindness.

11-Year-Old Former Refugee Plays Chopin

Child's hands playing Chopin

Entire Family Succeeding

One of LFNKR’s directors is Dr. W, a Zainichi (ethnic Korean resident of Japan). Recently he was invited to visit a former North Korean refugee family.  They are the first family that LFNKR ever helped resettle in Japan.  When they reached safety in Japan 11 years ago, their daughter was only one year old.  In the intervening years, Dr. W has witnessed this family’s hardship and their difficulties securing work in Japan.

LFNKR Annual Report Released

Introduction

When North Korea suddenly switched to a new currency in November 2009, the low limit for exchanges ensured that any savings accumulated in old currency by North Koreans largely vanished. This demonstrates that although the developing private market activity had only reached a rudimentary level, it was possible for people to accumulate new wealth. This growing segment of newly wealthy was dominating distribution and their voices began to be heard in their communities.

Joint Appeal Sent to UNHCR on 7 in Thailand

7 NK Refugees in Thailand Awaiting UNHCR Action

The following appeal was sent to the High Commissioner today jointly by our group (LFNKR) and Tim Peters’ Helping Hands Korea NGO.


 

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Geneva, Switzerland

20 September, 2006

As you probably have been informed, seven North Korean refugees, all women, have presented themselves to the police authorities in Nong Khai, a border town in Northern Thailand, at 09:00 hrs. Monday, 18 September in accordance with Article 31 of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which prohibits, among other things, the imposition of penalties on refugees based on their illegal entry to a third country.

Joint Appeal to Thailand

175 NK Refugees Still Need Help

Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR) has jointly submitted the following Appeal to the Immigration Authorities of Thailand.

We urge you to send another letter to the Thai Ambassador in your country requesting that these refugees be safely released to South Korea or other country where they will be safe from repatriation to North Korea.

Hunger Strike Spreading Among Detained NK Refugees

Reports Indicate New Spirit of Protest

According to The Commission to Help North Korean Refugees (a South Korean based NGO), news reports are beginning to filter out of China about a hunger strike among North Korean detainees who are being held in a facility preparatory to their shipment back home where they are sure to face prison or worse.

Mother visits Noguchi in Chinese Jail

Takayuki Noguchi

Takayuki Noguchi

Takayuki Noguchi before prison

Noguchi before priso

Ever since Takayuki Noguchi was arrested illegally by China in early December 2003, fears have mounted that he could be tried and sentenced to prison time, unlike previous aid workers who had been caught helping North Korean refugees, interrogated then released.

However, 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.