N Korean expat schools come under attack

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 July, 2006, 12:00am

More than 100 incidents of threats, vandalism and assaults on pupils have been reported by schools operated by the North Korean community in Japan.

The attacks, in the wake of Pyongyang's missile tests earlier this month, have forced schools to tell their students to leave in groups and not to wear uniforms.

'The day after the missile tests, there were hundreds of fliers posted around my school criticising the North Korean government, there were people waving the Japanese flag and someone had painted the word 'criminal' on the school wall,' said Chung Suk-ka, a teacher at the Tokyo Korean High School, one of 71 operated by the General Association of Korean Residents of Japan.

Some schools have also received e-mails and phone calls threatening to kill students or set fire to the premises, she added.

'An elementary schoolboy in Osaka was punched in the face by a man, and that was when it was decided to tell the children not to wear their uniforms,' she said. Similar attacks were reported in 2002, after Pyongyang admitted abducting Japanese nationals.