As an update to a previous posting about a a North Korean family defecting and being picked up in a Japanese port , I came across an article about the Prime Minister's latest statement.
The issue concerning Japan and defectors is serious because of its implication on the relationship between the two countries. Because of the shaky past, Prime Minister Abe must be careful not to push Pyongyang too far, especially with their latest missile tests. Abe has stated that a "humanitarian approach" would be taken. This could be viewed as an attempt to take the moral highground, and I'm sure that the North Korean government is outraged. It has been ecided that the family will be allowed to travel to South Korea with a "temporal protection landing permit" from Japan.
It is also interesting to note the differences between China and Japan's defector policies, because as Christina mentioned, the Chinese have sent defectors back, recognizing them as criminals.