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Koreans to be repatriated from Russian islands

More than 600 pensioners of Korean origin will be repatriated from Russia's Sakhalin Islands to South Korea from next month, the head of their association announced on Monday.

Some 40,000 Koreans were moved to the Sakhalin Islands before 1945 when their country was occupied by Japan, which then held the southern part of the islands. Russia regained control of the region after World War II.

"By November 2007, 610 aged people will be moved and will be given 300 apartments," Nikolai Pak from the association told the Interfax news agency.

"The government of Japan had allocated 2.8 million dollars for their transport and to help them set up house," he said.

"The South Korean government had promised to repatriate all first-generation Koreans by 2010, including those who live in others parts of Russia," he said.

There are about 4,000 aged Koreans in Sakhalin and some 30,000 people of Korean origin altogether on the island, according to the association.


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