A woman who defected from North Korean was deported from Japan to South Korea in mid-October after being convicted of illegally operating an adult salon in Ueno, according to Metropolitan Police Department sources.
The woman fled North Korea for South Korea in July 2004, but she came to Japan in April 2006 after experiencing financial difficulties in South Korea.
She opened the adult salon in January last year, and was arrested in May this year, the police said.
According to MPD sources, the woman sent part of her earnings from the shop to North Korea.
Nine other defectors from North Korea, all women, have also been arrested, the MPD said.
One, a massage parlor manager in her 40s, is an acquaintance of the deported woman. Investigative sources said she was arrested Oct. 4 on suspicion of violating the Adult Entertainment Businesses Law by operating the parlor in an area of Ueno where such businesses are prohibited.
The other eight women worked at the two Ueno businesses, and were arrested on suspicion of breaking the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law by working in violation of their visa status.
After defecting from North Korea, all 10 women entered a facility in South Korea that helps defectors settle in that nation, and all obtained status as South Korean nationals, according to the police.
However, the women found it hard to find work in South Korea. One was quoted by the police as saying: "We defected from North Korea because our lives there were difficult, but our lives didn't improve in South Korea. In Japan, we earned a lot, partly thanks to the strong yen."
The deported woman made profits of about 35 million yen at her salon between its opening and April this year. The woman said she had sent part of the income to relatives in North Korea, according to the police.
The MPD believes word that good money can be made by starting an adult entertainment business in Japan has been spreading among North Korean defectors.
The arrested massage parlor manager, meanwhile, is rumored to have once been a member of North Korea's secret police, the MPD said.
The MPD intends to thoroughly investigate the woman, who comes from a northern region of North Korea and visited Japan a few years ago, by exchanging information with South Korean police.
The majority of North Korean defectors seek asylum in South Korea after fleeing the country, often by crossing the Tumen River that runs along the North Korea-China border.
According to South Korea's Unification Ministry, about 20,000 North Korean defectors currently live in South Korea.
However, many cannot assimilate to life in South Korea. Defectors' employment rate is about 70 percent of that of the general public.
The Japanese government has accepted as North Korean defectors about 200 Korean-Japanese and their families who went to North Korea on its "return to the homeland" project, which began in 1959.
Most North Korean defectors were born and raised in North Korea, however.
Thought the exact number is not known, it is believed many North Korean defectors have visited Japan as South Koreans after obtaining South Korean nationality