The Japanese government secretly allowed a North Korean government official to re-enter Japan in 1999 after granting him asylum at a Japanese diplomatic establishment in China, informed sources said Sunday.

Tokyo considered the man to be “quasi-Japanese” as he was one of 95,000 former Korean residents of Japan who went to North Korea with their Japanese spouses between December 1959 and July 1984 under a program operated by the two countries’ Red Cross societies, the sources said. The man has not been named.

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