Kim Jong-un is interested in Japanese justice. The North Korean leader is summoned Thursday, October 14 at 10 a.m. in courtroom 103 of the Tokyo court. According to the injunction plastered in front of the massive building in the heart of the Japanese capital, the “Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” (DPRK, official name of North Korea) is to appear in the court. part of a lawsuit against his country. Five people are claiming 500 million yen (3.8 million euros) in damages from North Korea for having deceived them into promising them a life they never had.
The plaintiffs, four women and a man, are among the 93,000 Koreans from Japan and Japan who left to settle in North Korea between 1959 and 1984. They had been convinced by a propaganda operation carried out through the intermediary of the ‘General Association of Koreans of Japan (Chosen Soren), de facto representative of North Korea in the Archipelago – extolling life in the north of the peninsula, a ” heaven on earth “ or “Everything that is needed, including housing, education, food and clothing, is fully guaranteed”.
In fact, explains one of the complainants, Eiko Kawasaki, who left in 1960, at the age of 17, and returned in 2003, “North Korea wanted to attract Koreans, skilled workers and technicians, to face its labor shortage”.
At the time, the DPRK seemed like a promised land. Its economy was developing faster than that of a South Korea mired in the dictatorship of Syngman Rhee (1948-1960). The prospect was attractive for Koreans who arrived in the Archipelago during Japanese colonization (1910-1945) – voluntarily or as part of forced labor – and who remained in Japan after the war. Victims of discrimination, many lived in real poverty.
Hence this choice to embark, sometimes with a Japanese spouse, from the port of Niigata (northern Japan) for that of Chongjin (northeast of North Korea) aboard a Soviet ship, with the support of Japanese and North Korean Red Cross Societies, and the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The Japanese government had officially approved. The Japanese right saw this as a way to get rid of an unwanted community. The left wanted to promote socialist Korea. As for the Kremlin, this exodus from a capitalist country to a socialist state was all about a propaganda argument.
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