Grinding poverty, politics and persecution played no role in one North Korean man's recent decision to defect.
He was simply dazzled by images of the good life in South Korea, courtesy of pirated videos of television dramas and movies.
This fact emerged from interviews with nine North Koreans found on a small boat off the coast of the Noto Peninsula in the Sea of Japan on the morning of Sept. 13.
According to a government source, one of the men in the group told government officials, "I became attracted to life in South Korea after watching South Korean television dramas and movies."
The nine defectors consisted of two families and a single individual. All have expressed a desire to seek asylum in South Korea.
The nine are being questioned by a joint team of officials from the Justice Ministry, the Cabinet Secretariat and police at the Omura Immigration Center in Nagasaki Prefecture.
According to a government source, one of the men said during questioning, "While I belonged to the North Korean military, I also did quite a lot of squid fishing. While our lives were difficult, it was not so bad that we couldn't feed ourselves."
The man said the key reason for defecting from North Korea was "video images showing South Korean communities and the lives of the people."
The boat used to flee from North Korea had 180 liters of light oil when it left North Korea. Some food, including rice, remained on the boat when the nine were taken into custody by Japanese authorities.
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