260 Sakhalin Koreans to return home

260 Sakhalin Koreans to return home
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Yonhap)
Starting Saturday, some 260 Sakhalin Koreans — ethnic Koreans who were forced to relocate to the far-eastern Russian island by their Japanese colonizers during World War II — are set to arrive in their ancestral homeland, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday. 

The repatriation is in accordance with legislation that took effect in January, which expanded the eligibility criteria for relocation and financial support from the South Korean government for Sakhalin Koreans. 

Previously, the law restricted the government’s repatriation program to first-generation Sakhalin Koreans — those who were born before World War II ended in August 1945 — and their spouses, along with any children of first-generation Sakhalin Koreans with disabilities. 

But the new law now allows each first-generation Sakhalin Korean to bring a spouse plus one direct descendent and that person’s spouse. 

The Foreign Ministry said 337 people will be eligible for relocation this year, with 77 having already settled in South Korea. 

The rest of the 260 returnees will arrive here Saturday through Dec. 10. Only 21 are first-generation Sakhalin Koreans, mostly in their 80s and 90s. The first group of 91 people will arrive here on Saturday. 

Once they land in South Korea, they will stay at a separate facility for 10 days to undergo isolation for COVID-19. After the quarantine steps, they will settle in government-provided housing in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, and Incheon. The returnees will also go through a settlement program run by the Korean Red Cross for three months, during which time they will learn how to adjust to South Korean society — such as procedures to apply for citizenship, establish bank accounts and access public services. 

A Foreign Ministry official stressed that there are calls to expand the scope of the repatriation program, taking into account that many Sakhalin Koreans have more than one child and have left other family members behind. 

“We need society’s interest so that the program can be expanded in the future,” a ministry official said on condition of anonymity. 

Historians estimate that some 150,000 Koreans were forced by Japan to move to the southern half of Sakhalin, which was then controlled by the Japanese, in the 1930s and 1940s, when the Korean Peninsula was under Japan’s colonial rule. 

The uprooted Koreans ended up working at Japanese-run coal mines, lumber yards, pulp mills and construction sites. 

After Japan’s 1945 surrender in World War II, the Soviet Union took control of all of Sakhalin, and many Koreans moved to Japan or North Korea, a Soviet ally. About one-third of them wished to return to South Korea but weren’t permitted to leave as the US-aligned South had no diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union — leaving them effectively stranded and stateless for the next four decades. 

After South Korea and Russia established diplomatic relations in the early 1990s, about 4,400 Koreans were able to return home under the government program. 

The government estimates that some 43,000 Koreans lived on the island when World War II ended. Many have since died, while others decided to stay in Russia to be close to their families.

By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.com)

News Related

OTHER NEWS

N. Korea criticizes Japan's move to revise security documents

(Reuters-Yonhap)North Korea’s foreign ministry on Sunday criticized Japan’s moves to revise a set of key security documents as “extremely dangerous” steps away from its long-held defense-oriented policy. Japan has reportedly ... Read more »

FTC, maritime ministry conflict over freight rate collusion issue intensifies

An HMM container ship / Courtesy of HMM By Kim Hyun-bin Conflict between the country’s antitrust regulator and the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries is intensifying, as the Fair Trade ... Read more »

Restructuring steelmakers consider upping dividends to ease shareholder concerns

POSCO CEO Choi Jeong-woo By Lee Kyung-min Korea’s steel giants are increasingly embracing shareholder-friendly dividend policies, in a collective move to appease investor concerns over corporate restructuring plans, whereby the ... Read more »

Korean bio stocks plunging as large-cap players mired in unceasing scandals

Retail investors of SillaJen protest in front of the Korea Exchange in Seoul on Jan. 18, calling for the resumption of its stock trading. Yonhap By Lee Min-hyung Korea’s biotech ... Read more »

Fire at EcoProBM factory concerns Samsung SDI, SK on

EcoProBM’s factory in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, is on fire, Friday. Courtesy of National Fire Agency By Park Jae-hyuk Samsung SDI and SK on are facing growing concerns over the ... Read more »

Bitcoin fall unnerves investors in Korean stock market

Seen above is the price fall of Bitcoin at an office of Bithumb in Seoul, Friday. Yonhap Growing fears of Fed’s tightening, rate hikes to boost selloff of risky assets ... Read more »

7,630 new COVID-19 cases reported as Omicron surges

A person is tested for COVID-19 at a makeshift testing station in front of Seoul Station, Sunday. Yonhap Experts warn gov’t to take action over Omicron, as 7,000-plus confirmed cases ... Read more »

Mom's Touch delisting feared to benefit large shareholders only

The owner of a Mom’s Touch franchise restaurant in Seoul holds a sign protesting the franchisor’s abusive management practices, Oct. 27, 2021. Korea Times file By Lee Kyung-min Criticism is ... Read more »

Minor opposition candidates level criticism at Lee, Yoon

Presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo speaks with members of South Gyeongsang Provincial Council on Sunday. (Yonhap)As the presidential election is drawing near, minor opposition candidates Ahn Cheol-soo and Sim Sang-jung are ... Read more »

Samsung Electronics about to reach wage agreement

The flag of Samsung hangs in front of a building in the Samsung Town office park in Seocho District, Seoul, in this 2020 file photo. Korea Times photo by Bae ... Read more »

Exports of red pepper paste surge 63% over 4 years on K-pop popularity

gettyimagesbank Exports of red pepper paste soared nearly 63 percent over the past four years thanks to the global popularity of Korean pop culture, data showed Sunday.Overseas shipments of the ... Read more »

Can Yoon Suk-yeol win on his own without any help?

Presidential nominee Yoon Suk-yeol of the main opposition People Power Party speaks Saturday during a campaign event held in Sejong. (Yonhap)There is growing opinion that presidential nominee Yoon Suk-yeol of ... Read more »

Hyundai wins 5 awards in US News & World Report 2022

Hyundai’s Tucson Hybrid / Courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group By Kim Hyun-bin Hyundai has won U.S. News and World Report 2022 Best Cars for the Money Awards in five categories, ... Read more »

Iran pays delinquent UN membership fee with funds frozen in S. Korea

(The Ministry of Economy and Finance)Iran has paid its dues to the United Nations with the country’s funds frozen in South Korea in a move to immediately restore its voting ... Read more »

Bitcoin falls to as low as $34,000

Representation of cryptocurrency bitcoin is seen in this Nov. 29, 2021, illustration. Reuters-Yonhap Bitcoin dropped again on Saturday and was last down around 4 percent for the day, hovering around ... Read more »

New COVID-19 cases spike to second-largest figure amid Omicron woes

A medical worker takes samples from a woman for COVID-19 at a makeshift testing center near Seoul Station in central Seoul, Jan. 21. Yonhap South Korea’s daily coronavirus cases on ... Read more »

Companies fear new industrial accident law

By Lee Kyung-min Shipbuilding, construction, machinery and parts manufacturing companies are deeply concerned about a new law set to take effect next week that will hold the heads of big ... Read more »

Moon returns home after trip to Middle East

President Moon Jae-in returned home Saturday from a three-nation trip to the Middle East, where bolstering economic and defense cooperation was high on the agenda. In the United Arab Emirates, ... Read more »

Daily cases bounce to over 7,000 for 1st time in month amid Omicron woes

A woman wearing a face mask as a precaution against the coronavirus passes by a social distancing sign at a park in Seoul, Jan. 20. AP-Yonhap South Korea’s daily coronavirus ... Read more »

BBQ's ESG issues feared to hamper overseas expansion

Genesis BBQ Chairman Yoon Hong-geun gives a speech during the company’s 25th anniversary, at one of his company buildings in Seoul, on Sept. 1, 2020. Courtesy of Genesis BBQ By ... Read more »

Actress Song Ji-hyo goes into self-quarantine despite testing negative for COVID-19

By Dong Sun-hwa Actress Song Ji-hyo / Korea Times file Actress Song Ji-hyo tested negative for COVID-19, but still went into a 10-day quarantine as she has not been vaccinated.According ... Read more »

Gov't to lower age of eligibility for COVID-19 treatment pills from 65 to 60: PM

An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill called molnupiravir, developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, is seen in this undated handout photo released by Merck. Reuters-Yonhap The government will lower the age ... Read more »

Companies intensifying industry-academia partnerships to foster talent

Jeon Kyung-hoon, left, the president of Samsung Electronics, poses with Chung Jin-taek, the president of Korea University, during a ceremony to mark their agreement to foster talent in the telecommunications ... Read more »

OECD leading index for Korea drops for 5th month in December

gettyimagebank A leading economic index for Korea fell for the fifth consecutive month in December, pointing to a slowdown in Asia’s No. 4 economy down the road, data showed Thursday.The ... Read more »

Three South Korean drugmakers to produce Merck's COVID-19 pill

An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill, called molnupiravir and being developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, is seen in this undated handout photo released by Merck & ... Read more »

Daily cases over 6,000 for 2nd day as Omicron woes grow

A woman wearing a face mask as a precaution against COVID-19 passes by a social distancing sign at a park in Seoul, Jan. 20. The sign reads: “Safety distance 2 ... Read more »

'Spider-Man: No Way Home' sets new pandemic box office record

A scene from the film “Spider-Man: No Way Home” / Courtesy of Sony Pictures By Lee Gyu-lee Marvel’s latest superhero flick “Spider-Man: No Way Home” has surpassed 7 million ticket ... Read more »

[INTERVIEW] 1st Indian twin priests ordained in Korea hope to help needy in both countries

Fr. Xavier Sahaya Arul Selvan, left, and Fr. James Sahaya Arul Selvan pose at Seosomun Shrine History Museum in Seoul, Jan. 8. Korea Times photo by Lee Hae-rin Brothers overcome ... Read more »

Mirae Asset considers launching virtual asset custody business

The headquarters of Mirae Asset Financial Group, located in central Seoul / Courtesy of Mirae Asset Financial Group By Anna J. Park Mirae Asset Financial Group is considering whether to ... Read more »

More K-pop singers take center stage in musicals

By Dong Sun-hwa Lovelyz’s Kei / Courtesy of Palmtree Island A growing number of K-pop stars are broadening their horizons by moving into musicals as well. Kei, a member of ... Read more »

Korea proposes W14 tril. extra budget to support pandemic-hit merchants

Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum, right, speaks during an extraordinary Cabinet meeting at the Government Complex in Seoul, Jan. 21, to endorse a supplementary budget plan aimed at helping small businesses ... Read more »

Gov't to increase beef, pork supplies ahead of Lunar New Year holiday to tame inflation

gettyimagesbank The government plans to increase the supply of beef and pork by around 50 percent year-on-year ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday in an effort to help stabilize ... Read more »

Korea's tech trade logs second-highest tally of $29 bil. in 2020

gettyimagesbank Korea’s technology trade reached its second-highest tally ever at $29.9 billion in 2020, down 5.5 percent from the previous year, government data showed Friday.Technology trade refers to the country’s ... Read more »

KB could serve as benchmark for labor-backed board member system

KB Kookmin Bank’s head branch on Yeouido, Seoul / Courtesy of KB Kookmin Bank By Kim Bo-eun Private companies have been on alert since the National Assembly passed a bill ... Read more »

Samsung Life Insurance weighed down by legal disputes

Samsung Life Insurance’s headquarters in southern Seoul / Yonhap Court rules in favor of policyholders of insurer’s immediate annuity contract By Kim Bo-eun Samsung Life Insurance has been mired in ... Read more »

VIXX's Ravi to release new album 'Love&Fight,' Feb. 8

By Dong Sun-hwa The teaser for Ravi’s upcoming album, “Love&Fight” / Courtesy of GROOVL1N Ravi of K-pop boy group VIXX is poised to drop his second full-length album, “Love&Fight,” on ... Read more »

Political films to hit theaters ahead of 2022 presidential election

A footage of Kim Dae-jung delivering a speech in the documentary film “President” / Courtesy of Blue Film Works By Kwak Yeon-soo With only seven weeks before the 20th presidential ... Read more »

NCT 127's 'Sticker' stays on Billboard chart for 17-consecutive weeks

NCT 127 / Courtesy of SM Entertainment By Dong Sun-hwa “Sticker,” the third studio album by NCT 127 ― a sub-unit of K-pop boy group NCT ― is showing its ... Read more »

Hyundai Samho's IPO plan angers investors in parent firm

Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries’ shipyard in Yeongam, South Jeolla Province. Courtesy of Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Irregular worker’s death jeopardizes shipbuilder’s ESG rating By Park Jae-hyuk Minority shareholders of Korea ... Read more »

'Hyundai Motor shows no signs of rebound in China'

Hyundai Motor plans to sell its first plant in Beijing, after suspending its operation in 2019, as demand for its cars in China has been falling since 2017. Korea Times ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic