• Kyodo

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A group of 50 Korean residents of Japan arrived in Seoul on Friday on a homecoming trip, the first delegation organized by the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryun).

The participants, who are in their 70s, 80s and 90s and led by Chongryun Vice Chairman Pak Jae Ro, will meet family members and visit relatives’ graves during the six-day trip.

Twelve others — Chongryun officials and reporters — accompanied them.

Most Korean residents of Japan, who came to Japan before and during World War II, are believed to hail from areas that are now in South Korea.

The pro-Seoul Korean Residents Union in Japan (Mindan) has arranged trips for 50,000 residents since 1975, including a limited number of those professing support for North Korea, in consideration of their special circumstances.

The 50 people who arrived Friday have long refused to join the Mindan-organized trips as a matter of principle.

The visit comes after South and North Korea agreed, at ministerial talks in July in Seoul, to encourage visits by pro-Pyongyang Koreans living in Japan to the South.

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