• Kyodo News

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A North Korean family of four apparently seeking asylum in South Korea were moved Wednesday from a police station in Aomori Prefecture to an immigration facility in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture.

The Immigration Bureau has approved their entry into Japan on a provisional basis so it can process the landing permit the four have requested for temporary asylum.

Immigration officials are expected to issue a landing permit to the family as soon as possible and let them leave for South Korea, which has agreed to take them in. The four have said they want to go to South Korea.

Just before they left the Goshogawara police station for Aomori airport, the family thanked the officers in Korean for taking care of them, police said.

The family was taken by helicopter to a Ground Self-Defense Force facility in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture, before arriving at the immigration center.

Police said the four and are in good health.

The four arrived Saturday at Fukaura port in Aomori Prefecture in a small, open wooden boat.

Their journey across the Sea of Japan surprised coast guard officials and local residents, but their status was thrown into question when one member was found to have a small dose of amphetamines.

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