Koreans in Japan wary of tensions with North, worry about backlash

Koreans in Japan wary of tensions with North, worry about backlash

Koreans in Japan wary of tensions with North, worry about backlash

Ethnic Koreans living in Japan are nervously watching growing tensions over North Korea and are wary of a possible backlash against their community as Pyongyang ramps up its saber-rattling.

While public antipathy towards Koreans does not appear to have escalated in reaction to the North’s latest nuclear test and missile launches, the community has been the target of abuse by Japanese nationalists after similar incidents in the past.

The North conducted its most powerful nuclear test ever last week, and in late August fired a ballistic missile over Hokkaido in a new show of force.

In the western Japanese city of Osaka — home to the country’s largest population of ethnic Koreans — few are willing to talk publicly about North Korea, and those that do have mixed views on Pyongyang’s actions.

Pu Kyon Ja, owner of the store selling Korean traditional clothes and a second-generation Korean resident in Japan, said she felt the North’s pursuit of nuclear weapons was a natural reaction against threats from the United States.

“I can’t say this loudly but I secretly think well done” on North Korea’s development of missile and nuclear capabilities, she said. North Korea is “under great pressure (from the international society), which I believe should end.”

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