• Kyodo


Pro-Pyongyang Korean schools in Japan braced for harassment and threats to students on Monday, a day after North Korea drew international criticism for launching a rocket.

At an elementary and junior high school in Higashiyodogawa Ward, Osaka, teachers and police officers stood guard at the gates as students arrived in the morning.

“This is a place for children. We want to be left alone,” a male employee at the school said.

The 51-year-old father of a student at a Korean school in Hiroshima voiced concern over Pyongyang’s recent nuclear and rocket tests.

“Even though dangers to students have been reduced recently, I am still worried as a parent,” he said, adding that he has “mixed feelings as a compatriot living in Japan” about the North Korean tests and launches.

A teacher at a Korean school in Osaka said Sunday’s launch was “part of the country’s space development program” and denied that it was a missile test. Pyongyang has called its launches part of a peaceful space program. Others, including the United States, view the tests as cover for weapons testing.

“We shouldn’t make a fuss about it,” the teacher said.

The police presence was also beefed up outside the Tokyo headquarters of the pro-Pyongyang group Chongryon, otherwise known as the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, with additional officers stationed there to guard the facilities.

But aside from a few staff members entering and exiting the building, there was little movement seen in the area.

Korean schools in Japan faced a backlash in 2002 after North Korea admitted it had abducted Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s, and in 2006 after it launched ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan.

The harassment included some female students having their traditional Korean uniforms slashed and some schools receiving phoned-in death threats.

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