Japan moves possible North Korean defectors
Tokyo Nine possible North Korean defectors who sailed to Japan were moved to a refugee facility in the southern part of the country Wednesday afternoon, according to government officials.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujiwara said the nine people would be temporarily held at an immigration facility.
Earlier in the day, Fujiwara disputed local reports that they would be sent to South Korea.
The small wooden boat carrying nine men, women and children onboard claiming they were from North Korea was spotted off Japan's western coast Tuesday morning.
A fisherman saw the boat drifting about 25 km (15 miles) off the coast of Noto peninsula of Ishikawa prefecture and reported it to authorities.
It is rare for North Korean defectors to sail to Japan's coast. According to coast guard records, there have been only two other cases.One was in 2006, when four North Koreans floated to northern Japan. The other was in 1987, when a family of 11 drifted to west Japan.
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