TOKYO, April 13 (UPI) — Japan is requiring ethnic Korean residents in the country to sign a pledge to not visit North Korea.
The requirement extends to Koreans who may support the Pyongyang regime and have turned down the option of acquiring South Korean citizenship, Tokyo Shimbun reported.
The target population of Koreans of “chosen nationality” is legally classified as stateless, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.
The mandate is part of unilateral Japanese sanctions against North Korea adopted in February. Tokyo has banned the re-entry of “foreign” nuclear weapons and missile engineers to Japan, if they are returning from a visit to the North.
The pledge document reads, “I will not travel to North Korea. If it is confirmed I had entered North Korea, I recognize that I am not allowed to re-enter Japan.”
If the document is not signed by a Korean resident traveling outside Japan, they will not be allowed to leave, according to an official at the Japanese Immigration Bureau.
The nationality designation for pro-Pyongyang Koreans in Japan was originally established in 1947, allowing Korean residents in the country to opt out of both Japanese and South Korean citizenship.
The category remains in the absence of diplomatic ties between Tokyo and Pyongyang, and both pro-North Korean residents and ethnic Koreans who have not pledged loyalty to any government have been classified as “chosen” Koreans.
Kim Dong Hak, the secretariat of a pro-North human rights association in Japan, said the law is unfair and targets ethnic Koreans.
Japan has previously arrested ethnic Korean scientists in the country suspected of delivering technology related to missiles to the North, the South China Morning Post reported.
The members of Kwahyop, the Korea Association of Science and Technology, were procuring jet mills and shipping them to Pyongyang before October 2005, according to the report.