2014N0830

Japanese MoD requests largest ever budget

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Japanese MoD requests largest ever budget

Kosuke Takahashi, Tokyo and James Hardy, London - IHS Jane's Defence Industry

28 August 2014

The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) on 29 August asked for JPY5.05 trillion (USD48.6 billion) for fiscal year 2015, its largest ever budget request.

The request is up 3.5% from the current fiscal year budget and is the third consecutive rise under the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has adopted a tougher stance against China since returning to power in December 2012.

The budget request, which will be sent to the finance ministry to consider before a decision later this year, includes funding for new capabilities such as tiltrotor aircraft, high-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles, and new early-warning aircraft.

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posted by Kosuke at 02:29| Comment(0) | Jane's Defence Weekly

2014N0822

Pro-wrestling event an opportunity to improve DPRK-Japan relations, says Inoki


Pro-wrestling event an opportunity to improve DPRK-Japan relations, says Inoki

Inoki hopes Japanese PM Abe will visit to Pyongyang soon

August 21st, 2014 Kosuke Takahashi

An upcoming international pro-wrestling event to take place in Pyongyang at the end of August is a chance to create a better environment for Japanese-North Korean relations, the Japanese pro wrestler turned politician Antonio Inoki told a press conference on Thursday.

Speaking at the Foreign Correspondentsf Club of Japan in Tokyo, Inoki hoped that the event would lead to eliminate prejudice and preconceptions by deepening exchanges between two nations.

The event will take place on August 30 – 31 and is organized by Inoki and North Koreafs International Martial Arts Games Committee Chairman Jang Ung.

gIn a closed situation without any interactions, sports and peace are the only themes that nobody can oppose,h Inoki, 71, told reporters . gTo open the door in such situations is a basis of diplomacyh.

gUnfortunately, for many years we have had all of these doors closed,h he continued.

Inoki has visited Pyongyang 29 times since 1994, and his upcoming 30th visit comes at a time when Japanfs Shinzo Abe administration is making some progress on the long-standing abduction issue with North Korea.

Pyongyang is expected to deliver its first report on its full-scale investigation into the fate of Japanese nationals abducted by its agents in the 1970s and 80s in September.

gIn September we will see some answer (from Pyongyang) in regard to the abduction issue, and before that, I hope to help create an environment that enables more deep discussions at the governmental level,h said Inoki, currently a member of the upper house of Japanfs Diet (parliament).

gThere is no reporting in Japan about what kind of messages North Korea wants to send us,h Inoki said. gBy delivering those messages to the Japanese people and by deepening exchanges, we can eliminate prejudice and preconceptions.h

Inoki said the best way to improve the bilateral ties would be a visit by Prime Minister Abe to North Korea.

A press release, issued by an NGO whose head is Inoki and which strives to use sports to promote peace, said 21 wrestlers from Japan, the U.S., France, Brazil and China will take part in the event.

Among them are former IWGP Champions Kazuyuki Fujita and Bob Sapp, and a French kickboxer and K-1 fighter Jérôme Le Banner.


Antonio Inoki addresses the conference | Picture: NK News

Antonio Inoki addresses the conference | Picture: NK News

The event is to take place at Pyonyangfs Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Stadium. It will be broadcast live for the first time from Pyongyang on the internet by Japanfs online video service operator Nico Nico Douga.

This is not the first time Inoki has organized a wrestling event in Pyongyang: in April 1995, he put together a similar event at the Rungrado May Day Stadium, attracting about 380,000 local attendees over two days. With a capacity of more than 150,000 people, the stadium is regarded as the largest stadium in the world.

The event saw the final fight take place between Inoki and the World Wrestling Federationfs (WWF) Ric Flair, which Inoki won.

Asked about why this time he has organized the upcoming event at the smaller Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Stadium, which has a capacity of 15,000 people, Inoki said that the Rungrado May Day Stadium is under repair. In addition, he said that Pyongyang is willing to show the world the smaller stadium, which was donated by South Korean conglomerate Hyundai Group.

Inoki also said the execution of Jang Song Thaek, Kim Jong Unfs uncle, last December impacted the planning of the event.

gAnother point I like to make is that in 1995 there were no sanctions by Japan, but now there are plenty of sanctions by Japan, so within many constraints we are doing our best by not going against any laws,h Inoki said.

Inoki has maintained connections with North Korea because his former pro wrestling master Rikidozan – a national hero in Japan in the wake of its defeat in World War II – originally came from South Hamgyong province, North Korea.


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Kim Yong Suk, Rikidozanfs daughter in Pyongyang, later married Pak Myong Chol, a former Minister of Physical Culture and Sports and councilor in the National Defense Commission (NDC).

Rikidozan found and scouted Inoki, then 17, in 1960 in Brazil during his professional wrestling tour to São Paulo. Inokifs family had immigrated to Brazil when he was 13 due to dire poverty.

Inoki had a legendary career in pro wrestling from the 1960s to the 1990s. In the U.S. he is perhaps best known for fighting Muhammad Ali to a draw in a mixed rules fight in 1976.


Rikodozan | Picture: Wikimedia Commons

Rikodozan | Picture: Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: NK News/Kosuke Takahashi

posted by Kosuke at 02:53| Comment(0) | NK News

2014N0819

Chongryon school in Kawasaki struggles to survive financially

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Decline in students, government funding leads to unpaid staff, uncertain future
August 18th, 2014 Kosuke Takahashi

KAWASAKI, Japan – A pro-North Korea elementary school for Korean children in Kawasaki city, adjoining Tokyo, is struggling to survive financially due to a steep decline in students and the absence of local government subsidies.

Kang Moon Seok, 56, principal of the Kawasaki Choson Elementary School, located in the southern part of Kawasaki City in Kanagawa Prefecture, recently admitted to NK News that his school has been unable to pay its 10 teachers their salaries for two months.

gWe all canft live properly without salary,h said Kang, head of Kawasaki Choson Elementary School, one of the 71 affiliated schools of Chongryon, the pro-Pyongyang federation of Korean residents in Japan.

Kang said about 6,000 Zainichi, or ethnic Koreans in Japan, live in Kawasaki Ward alone.

This racial melting pot was created under Japanfs 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. Kang said many Koreans were forced by the Japanese military regime to come to work at military establishments in Kawasaki, such as steel and shipbuilding industries, namely NKK and Hitachi Zosen, especially after Japan started the Second Sino-Japanese war in 1937.

gIn the case of Kawasaki, many Zainichi Koreans originally came from South Gyeongsang Province, located in the southeast of the current South Korea,h said Kang, a third-generation Korean resident of Japan.

gMeanwhile, as for Osaka, the most famous place with the highest concentration of Zainichi in Japan, many of them originally came from Jeju Island.h

Kang said his grandfather moved from Jeju Island to Osaka in 1937 by ship called gKimigayomaru,h then moving into Kawasaki.

Kang, who refers to North Korea as gChoson,h said many Korean residents in Japan, including his grandfather, saw Choson as the only legitimate state and South Korea as a puppet state of the United States, thus many of Zainichi chose North Korean citizenship rather than South Korean in the late 1940s and early f50s.

In the early 2000s, the school removed the portraits of the late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il that used to hang in classrooms because parents wanted to set aside ideology.

When this writer referred to Kim Jong Un without any honorific official titles such as gSupreme Commanderh or gFirst Secretary of the Korean Workersf Party,h Kang expressed his anger by saying gThis pisses me off, as he is the most important person to protect Choson and he has guaranteed to protect Zainichi 100 percent.h

gWe are not anti-Japanese people, but pro-Japanese people, living in Japan,h Kang said.

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The inside of the Kawasaki Choson Elementary School. Kosuke Takahashi

The following are excerpts from an interview with Kang at his school in Kawasaki City.

NK News: First of all, can you briefly tell us about your school? For example, how many students are here now?

Kang: This is an elementary school. Currently, we have 58 students, that is, 44 elementary school kids and 14 kindergarten pupils. This school was reorganized from an elementary and junior high school into the current form of an elementary school in 2005 due to the diminishing number of children, etc.

We used to have about 500 students in 1960s, when I myself came to this school as a student. That was the peak. Soon after that, six students in every class went back to Choson (North Korea) on the back of the gReturn Country Campaignh (promoted by Chongryon).

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The inside of the Kawasaki Choson Elementary School. Kosuke Takahashi

NK News: That was when North Korea launched a propaganda campaign, gItfs an earthly paradise.h

ckids from Christian families also come to this school

Kang: At that time, many Zainichi could not get a job in Japan, so they wanted to go back to Choson. This is the real reason.

NK News: When was this school established?

Kang: The school was established in November 1946, two years before Choson was (officially) founded in September 1948.

NK News: Who established the school at that time actually?

Kang: Choren, or the Zainichi Chosenjin Renmei (League of Korean Residents in Japan), established it. Choren was the predecessor of Chongryon.

NK News: So, do many kids from pro-North ethnic Korean families come to this school now?

Kang: Not necessarily. There are many students whose families are not Chongryon members. This is the school for Zainichi. For example, kids from Christian families also come to this school.

NK News: So, is this school nothing to do with Chongryon now?

Kang: Thatfs not true. Of course, the school is associated with it. When something wrong happens to the school, people at Chongryon would kindly help us in many ways.

NK News: Out of 58 students, how many do come from Chongryon-member families?

Kang: What do you mean by Chongryon member? You mean activists at Chongryon? Or pro-Chongryon people? Itfs hard to tell. But since Choren, Chongryonfs predecessor, established the school, we admit the school has been under the influence of Chongryon. For Choren, to establish schools for Zainichi was the most important thing at that time.

NK News: What subjects do you teach in here?

Kang: We teach Korean language, arithmetic, science, Japanese language, music, arts and crafts, health and physical education and social studies.

NK News: So you donft teach Juche ideology?

Kang: You cannot teach it to elementary students. They cannot understand.

NK News: How much is the total monthly tuition parents have to pay?

Some families such as a fatherless family cannot pay tuition at all. But we cannot press such families for payment

Kang: Everything included, that amounts to about 30,000 Japanese yen (a little less than $300) per student. In April, it runs up to 40,000 yen as parents have to buy many textbooks at the beginning of a new school term.

NK News: Thatfs very expensive.

Kang: Yes, it used to be about 15,000 yen. But now, we cannot receive any funding from Kanagawa Prefecture and Kawasaki City. Some families such as a fatherless family cannot pay tuition at all. But we cannot press such families for payment.

Our 10 teachers here have not been paid for two months. And I also could not reiceive any salary for six months at one time. This is becoming sort of volunteer work for us. We all canft live properly without salary.

NK News: What do you think of the abduction issue?

Kang: In 2002 when (North Korean leader Kim Jong Il) admitted the nation had abducted 13 Japanese citizens, such as Megumi Yokota, I was so shocked. I could not believe it. But instantly I had to think about my students. I thought the Japanese peoplefs wrath would surely turn on Zainichi. The phone was actually permanently engaged. Those phone calls said, gWe will avenge!h and gYour child will be a drowned body in the river.h Since 2002 I have always been thinking how to protect my students. I have been driven by an instinct for self-preservation.

Japan is a basis for my life

I feel very sorry for the Yokota family. But some Japanese groups are using the abduction issue for their political purposes, bringing about hate speech toward Zainichi. So, I have complicated feelings about this issue.

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A book written by the parents of Megumi Yokota was there in the principal's office when I visited there on August 2. The principal said Kawasaki City government sent this book to every parent of the pro-North Korea school kids and one of those books was brought to the principal's office

NK News: Where is your national identity? What do you think of Japan as Zainichi?

Kang: I really care about Japan. I was born and grew up in Kawasaki. I had Japanese childhood friends. I have eaten the same Japanese food as you. I watched the same TV programs in childhood as you. I played the same Japanese games as you. Japan is a basis for my life.

NK News:What do you think of for the sale of the Tokyo headquarters building and land of Chongryon?

Kang: This became a big issue as it was thrown into politics. The Resolution and Collection Corp. (RCC), the government-affiliated debt collection agency, and Chongryon once reached an agreement on a sales contract. But Japanfs political intervention made this problem bigger. They are using this issue as a means of sanctions.

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Pictures: Kosuke Takahashi
posted by Kosuke at 00:02| Comment(0) | NK News