Trial in China
trial of Takayuki Noguchi, the Japanese aid worker arrested
by China last December, will take place in early May, reports Yomiuri
Shimbun, the leading Japanese newspaper, in a 2 May article by Hong
Kong based reporter Yasuharu Seki.
who was working for our organization, Life Funds for North
Korean Refugees (LFNKR), was arrested late last year for attempting
to help two Japanese-born North Korean refugees escape from China
(more details at http://www.northkoreanrefugees.com/statementjan13-04.htm
On April 5, the Chong Zuo People’s Prosecutors’ Office
filed formal charges against Noguchi with Chong Zuo Intermediate
we have shown repeatedly, the two Japanese-born North Koreans
whom Noguchi went to China to help are obviously qualified as refugees;
they will face harsh persecution if repatriated. Their status certainly
meets the conditions specified by the Refugees Convention, to which
China is signatory. Noguchi’s action in assisting the two
refugees in no way constitutes illegal action.
Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be notified
of the exact date of the trial by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign
Affairs. However, Japan’s Foreign Ministry has consistently
rejected this organization’s requests for minimal necessary
information about the trial, including its date. This refusal to
allow us any access to information is wholly unjustifiable.
no way to know the exact date of the trial, we fear that
China may hold a de-facto closed-door trial with the tacit approval
of the Japanese Foreign Ministry, while officially calling it an
illustrate China’s practices, the trial of Mr. Chun
Ki Won, a humanitarian aid worker from Durihana Mission in South
Korea was announced on the morning of the trial day, and it took
place that afternoon in a remote location in Hailar, Inner Mongolia
Autonomous Region. This is an example of a de-facto closed-door
trial orchestrated to prevent anyone from observing the proceedings,
although it might be technically termed an “open trial.”
Yomiuri article refers to an earlier trip to China by Noguchi
the article revealed no details, during that trip Noguchi
successfully aided an escape from China by several North Korean
orphans and Japanese-born North Korean refugees who were born and
raised in Japan but had later moved to North Korea. LFNKR has been
providing protection and minimum education for these North Korean
orphans under its foster parent program. In April 2002, seven orphans
under our protection in China were captured by a joint team of the
Chinese police and border guards. They were sent back to North Korea.
Fortunately, by August, six out of the seven orphans managed to
escape again to China, and our local network protected them. The
seventh orphan, however, a 5-year-old girl, never made it back to
China. We do not know if she is still alive.
interviewed the children who managed to make their way
back to our shelter. The eldest, who was 14 when repatriated, was
accused of under-reporting his age, and the authorities sent him
to the labor training center in Onsong, Hamgyong Bukto usually reserved
for older prisoners. He was assigned to a road construction team
every day while receiving only three spoonfuls of corn per meal.
When our local network in China got him back, he had relatively
fresh marks on his back indicating beatings with a shovel. He was
skin and bones when retrieved, and was sent immediately to a hospital.
incident prompted LFNKR’s decision to rescue its
North Korean orphans from China, since it was obvious that the children
could be captured and repatriated again at any time. The North Korean
refugees and orphans had to move around frequently to escape the
sweeps staged by the Chinese police. They also faced betrayal by
neighbors wishing to collect bounty money.
mission is humanitarian aid activities that give hope of
survival to North Korean people who know they could die tomorrow.
Our member, Noguchi, who faces trial now, had dedicated his life
to humanitarian aid activities and had volunteered to accept the
risk of rescuing the lives and futures of these orphans and Japanese-born
North Korean refugees.
the Chinese government claims that these humanitarian aid
activities by Noguchi are “criminal,” it should open
the trial to the entire world and show its definition of justice
through the mass media of the international community.
firmly believes that Noguchi’s act deserve admiration
by people all around the world who know what humanitarianism and
human rights really involve.
Nakadaira, Board Chairman