Japan puts NKorean defectors on plane to Seoul

AP News
Posted: Oct 03, 2011 10:45 PM

Nine North Koreans who defected to Japan have been flown to South Korea for resettlement.

The group was put on a flight out of Japan on Tuesday. Japanese authorities said they had requested to be sent to South Korea, and Tokyo decided to honor that request for humanitarian reasons.

The nine said they departed North Korea on Sept. 8. By the time they were spotted by Japan's Coast Guard about a week later, they had only a small amount of rice, some pickled vegetables and snacks. They had run out of drinking water.

North Korean defectors typically cross over the North's porous border with China or drift in boats over the Yellow Sea dividing line between North and South Korea, but they rarely come as far as Japan.