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Ex-Agent to North Korea Suing Japan

November 25th, 2006 . by Darin

In the most recent North Korea in the News at DPRK Studies, Richardson links to an article on Donga called, “Ex-Agent to North Korea Suing Japan” that I just can’t figure out. I was going to ask this as a question to Richardson on his blog directly, but I decided that it would be more appropriate to give it a post because it got long, and the focus of Richardson’s post was not this article alone, but many articles.


Aoyama is a Korean resident born in Japan. After entering into North Korea in 1960 when Japan repatriated Korean Japanese, he worked as an agent in North Korea, the Kyoto Press reported.

So he worked as a spy for the Japanese government in North Korea correct?

He requested the Japanese government to pay him 3.2 billion yen (about 25.6 billion won) for handing over sensitive information relating to North Korea’s nuclear program to the Japanese foreign affairs ministry.

And now he’s suing the Japanese government because??? Did he not get paid for the intel he sent to Japan or something?

And then lastly (or firstly if you read the article in it’s original order)

“It is unfair not to recognize North Korean defectors as refugees,” and filed a suit at the Tokyo District court against the Japanese government asking for the recognition of North Korean defectors as a refugee, according to Japanese news outlets.

He throws in a complaint about the Japanese governments stance on refugees? So what is it he’s actually suing for? If it’s to make the Japanese government accept North Korean refugees, how does him pocketing 3.2 billion yen solve that problem?

A final question, the repatriation issue. Although the article made just a quick mention of it, the article makes it sound as though the government shipped out as many Koreans as possible. But in an article on Japan Focus, there is this blurb.

A massive wave of repatriation of Koreans living in Japan took place within a very short period of time. In November 1945, a government survey reported almost 1,156,000 Koreans remaining in Japan, or nearly 1,000,000 less than before Japan’s defeat, indicating that a huge repatriation had taken place within two months; in March 1946, another survey found that the number of Koreans remaining in Japan had been reduced to 647,000 (Morita 1996, p. 103). The repatriates presumed that they were returning to a Korea liberated from Japanese colonialism in the hope of making a better life.

Although the Japanese government promoted this early phase of repatriation, Koreans in Japan were its driving force. Numerous local Korean organizations were formed immediately after Japan’s surrender, and they came together in Choren (Zainippon Chosenjin Renmei, the League of Koreans Residing in Japan) in October 1945. Choren worked hard to facilitate repatriation by negotiating with the Japanese government, drawing up lists of repatriates, issuing certifications, and arranging transportation and accommodations. At this time, the border between Korea and Japan was not strictly enforced, and some Koreans went home simply by chartering small boats (Morita 1996; Wagner 1951; Morris-Suzuki 2006).

The Allied occupation officially launched a repatriation project in March 1946; by this time, however, the number of Koreans remaining in Japan who wished to repatriate had fallen sharply, as news filtered in about the desperate situation in Korea. The number of people who repatriated to Korea and then reentered Japan increased, and this was treated as “illegal” entry—even though these people held Japanese nationality/citizenship. More than 19,000 Koreans were arrested for illegal entry between April and December 1946. The repatriation project undertaken by the Allied occupation ended in 1950 in part because of the outbreak of the Korean War (1950-1953), and in part because of the decline in the number of people willing to repatriate. An official count of repatriates by the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare totaled approximately 1,015,000 (in addition, nearly 48,000 were deported for illegal reentry) between 1945 and 1950 (Morita 1996, p. 83 & p. 112).

So, many Korean people wanted to repatriate at first, and the government supported this, but before long people changed their minds and no longer desired to leave, sometimes even illegally entering the country to come back? If that’s the case, then why does this guy voluntarily moving to Korea have anything to do with his lawsuit, or is it just included in the article for a background on his personal life story?

I’m thoroughly confused; can someone make some sense of this for me, or is this whole article (and law suit) completely nonsensical?

10 Responses to “Ex-Agent to North Korea Suing Japan”

  1. comment number 1 by: GarlicBreath

    If you didn’t know it, Koreans are sue crazy. This guy is just trying to steal more money from Japan, not unlike those prostitues hired by Korean pimps to service fine Japanese soldiers.

    This spy should be dealt with the way the russians deal with spys.

  2. comment number 2 by: ponta

    (毎日新聞) – 11月23日9時53分更新

    関連トピックス: 北朝鮮日本人拉致

    It seems he filed two suits which are not essentical related at the same time.
    One: he wants Japanese government to recognize him as a refugee.
    Two :he wants money for the sectret document about North Korea which he siad he had handed to the Japanese government.

    So he worked as a spy for the Japanese government in North Korea correct?

    Probably he had no contract with Japanese government to work as a spy.
    I think he had no connection with japanese government while he was in North Korea but he just stole the document from North Korea and he handed it to J government. And now he is demanding the money for it.
    Donga repots that he was rather a spy for North Korea.Donga

    If it’s to make the Japanese government accept North Korean refugees, how does him pocketing 3.2 billion yen solve that problem?

    His pocketing 3.2 billion yen does not solve that problem. It is probably completely different lawsuits, but for the sake of convenience he filed them at the same time.

    then why does this guy voluntarily moving to Korea have anything to do with his lawsuit,

    It has nothing to do with his lawsuit.

    or is it just included in the article for a background on his personal life story?

    I guess so.

    But I might be wrong.

  3. comment number 3 by: molly

    News : 青山健熙氏のこと
    投稿者 trycomp 投稿日時 2006-11-26 4:03:25 (24 ヒット)







    (産経新聞 2002/8/3)









  4. comment number 4 by: camphortree

    Molly’s above article is available at the site called 電脳補完録。

  5. comment number 5 by: Two Cents

    Looks like it’s the guy that wrote this book in 2002.
    North Korea – the Devil’s Real Identity

    From what molly and this site says,
    He wasn’t a Japanese spy working in NK, but a NK agent who used his Japanese abilities to spy on Japanese technology in China, sell technological info to China, and send the profits to NK. It seems he felt himself in danger of being labeled “not loyal enough to Kim,” and he defected to a Japanese embassy and traded his intelligence on NK for a visa to Japan. He is still a Chinese national, using the fake Chinese ID he used during his days as a NK agent. He is basically angry that the Japanese government is not giving full protection to its collaborators.

    The repatriation movement Aoyama is talking about is the one started in the 1958 talks between the Japanese and NK Red Cross. There were motives involved on all sides. The Norks wanted able laborers to rebuild its devastated country. Japan wanted to get rid of the Koreans who were keeping to themselves, living on welfare, and were quickly getting sucked up by the yakuza. The Koreans wanted a way out of poverty, and promises of free education, health care, housing, and equality of the people allured them. Under Kim Il-son’s orders, propaganda of how NK was “paradise on earth” was spread through the Chosun Soren (Society of North Koreans in Japan), and echoed by left-leaning Japanese media like Asahi Shimbun, and intellectuals like Kenzaburo Oe and Goro Terao. The support by a major newspaper seemed to convince many who did not trust the NK or the Japanese government that NK may indeed be paradise. The Japanese Red Cross interviewed each person individually to confirm that the wish to return was his/her own wish and not being forced on the person by other members of the family. The first ship for the repatriation set sail in Dec. 10, 1959. The repatriation continued to 1984, but by then, information of NK not being paradise had spread, and few Koreans were willing to go. There were talks of repatriation to South Korea, but it never happened because SK insisted that Japan pay for the transportation and Japan refused. The repatriated people were placed in labor camps and watched closely as capitalist spies. They were forced to write letters to relatives asking for some money to settle in, and NK used the money to finance their government. In short, they were hostages. Although the letters were censored, some wary Koreans had set up secret codes among the family to relay information before they left for NK, and information of the appalling conditions eventually got out. Asahi seems to have completely forgotten its active role in spreading the propaganda, and in May 18, 2004, wrote an article condemning the Japanese government for “taking part in the repatriation project which was nothing but a Korean deportation policy.”

  6. comment number 6 by: Darin



    Posted in Random at 3:13 am by Darin


  7. comment number 7 by: camphortree

    molly’s above article is available at 電脳補完録、a support group’s site
    for the abductees by North Korea.
    The address is: http://nyt.trycomp.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=5750

  8. comment number 8 by: Two Cents

    My apologies to Darin & Matt

  9. comment number 9 by: Errol

    The North Korean Gravy Train doesn’t stop in Japan.

    He (Aoyama) requested the Japanese government to (sic) pay him 3.2 billion yen (about 25.6 billion won) for handing over sensitive information relating to North Korea’s nuclear program to the Japanese foreign affairs ministry.

    It stops in Korea.

    The Seoul Central Prosecutors Office charged Kim Seok-chul, the chairman of Sonoko Cuisineware Inc., and Kang Man-soo, head of Living Art Co., for colluding to embezzle 300 million won (about 37.4 million yen) – part of the 3 billion won in government loans which they received as aid for investing in Gaeseong.

    “After receiving the loans on Oct. 26, 2004, Kim and Kang took the total amount of money in a month,” said a prosecutor investigating the case, declining to be identified.

  10. comment number 10 by: Errol

    Not content with 300 million won they then took another 3 billion won.

    Noh Mu-hyeon must be deeply embarassed. The money for King Kim Jong-il went south of the border. Never mind. LVMH will still get their cut.