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Defectors tell court they were promised ‘paradise on Earth’ in North Korea


Five people who say they were lured to North Korea decades ago as part of a resettlement programme have told a court in Japan they were promised a “paradise on Earth” but were instead denied basic human rights.


The plaintiffs – four ethnic Korean residents of Japan and a Japanese woman who went to the North with her Korean husband and their daughter – are seeking 100m yen (£644,000) in damages from the regime of Kim Jong-un.


While no one believes Kim will pay compensation if ordered to do so, the case is expected to highlight the plight of tens of thousands of people – mainly Koreans and their Japanese spouses – who went to live in the North as part of a programme operated by the countries’ Red Cross societies and funded by Pyongyang.


“We don’t expect North Korea to accept a decision nor pay the damages,” Kenji Fukuda, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, said at a recent briefing, adding, “but we hope that the Japanese government will be able to negotiate with North Korea” if the court rules in their favour.


In all, more than 90,000 ethnic Korean residents of Japan, most with family ties to the South, moved to North Korea between 1959 and 1984.


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North Korea has fired at least one ballistic missile from the country's east coast, authorities say


North Korea fired at least one ballistic missile from its eastern coast on Tuesday morning, according to South Korean and Japanese officials.


The launch took place in the port city of Sinpo, Hamgyong province, at about 10 a.m. local time Tuesday (9 p.m. ET Monday), South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. In a text to reporters, the JCS said it appeared to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).

South Korea's Defense Ministry said the missile is estimated to have been fired from the sea, but has yet to confirm whether it was launched from a submarine. Sinpo is home to a North Korean naval shipyard.

Japan's Deputy Secretary General Yoshihiko Isozaki said two ballistic missiles were estimated to be fired during Tuesday's launch, while South Korea's military only announced one projectile.

"North Korea's latest actions threaten the peace and security of Japan and the region," Isozaki said. "Furthermore, the continued ballistic missile launches pose a serious challenge not just for Japan but for the entire international community."

Tuesday's test was "extremely regrettable" and violated UN Security Council resolutions, Isozaki added.


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North Korea Reportedly Sentences Man to Death for Smuggling in ‘Squid Game’


North Korea has sentenced a citizen to die after he allegedly smuggled in copies of Netflix’s Squid Game and gave them to high school students, Radio Free Asia reports. The smuggler brought the copies in on USB drives and SD cards and sold them to one student, who allowed multiple friends to watch the series. The streams were picked up by a government task force specialized in illegal streaming, which bans content from capitalist societies such as the U.S. and South Korea, among others, as of last year. The smuggler who brought the copies in is set to be killed by firing squad, according to the outlet, while the student who bought the copy was sentenced to life in prison.


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Now that's what I call fashion police:


North Korea bans leather coats after Kim starts new fashion trend


North Korea has banned leather coats that copy the style of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, multiple sources told Radio Free Asia. 


Kim popularized the leather jacket in 2019. It was initially worn by rich people who could afford the pricey item. 


However, fake leather was soon imported so the jacket could be worn by those with less money, which frustrated the North Korean leader. 


“When these leather coats became popular, the law enforcement authorities went after the companies that made the coats that look too much like the Highest Dignity’s,” one source said.

A military parade in North Korea in January showed all the high-ranking officials wearing leather jackets, sparking even more interest in the material. However, literal fashion police have worked to confiscate the fake leather jackets in markets and from people wearing them.


Citizens have complained, saying it is not fair to take a jacket they paid for.


"The police respond to the complaints, saying that wearing clothes designed to look like the Highest Dignity’s is an 'impure trend to challenge the authority of the Highest Dignity,'" another source said. "They instructed the public not to wear leather coats, because it is part of the party’s directive to decide who can wear them."


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Edited by China
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