OSAKA (Kyodo) The Osaka Prefectural Police on Sunday arrested a Japanese woman who defected from North Korea on suspicion of passing off four Chinese nationals as her relatives and enabling them to enter Japan.

The four Chinese were also arrested, police officials said.

Hiroko Saito, 67, and the four others are suspected of violating an immigration law provision that allows the relatives of a Japanese national who flees North Korea to obtain resident status in Japan.

Saito, who lives in Itabashi Ward, Tokyo, allegedly helped a Chinese woman enter Japan in August 2001, claiming she was her oldest daughter.

Saito brought three other Chinese in through July 2006, passing them off as her kin from North Korea, the police said.

“I was instructed by a Chinese broker who helped me to flee North Korea,” Saito was quoted as saying during questioning before her arrest.

Saito defected around 2000 after moving to North Korea with her husband, a North Korean citizen residing in Japan, and their daughter in 1961.

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