Not so neat.
The Strange Rise and Fall of North Korea's Business Empire in JapanThe author talks to Kong-do Oh, who is as knowledgeable a person as there is about what has gone on in North Korea, what is going on there, and about those who have either escaped from or are passing in and out of that country.
Since its 1950s founding, a Pyongyang-linked group called Chongyron has run everything from banks to newspapers, pushing propaganda out and pulling hard currency in. But now that's ending.
It's been a big couple of weeks for North Korea's 29-year-old dictator. Kim Jong Un appointed himself titular head of the country's military last week and took his marriage public on Tuesday. But amid the celebrating, Kim's Stalinist regime suffered a little-reported setback on the other side of the Sea of Japan. At a time when North Korea is as desperate as ever for hard currency, one of its few reliable generators -- and one of its few links to the outside world -- has gone broke, likely ending the bizarre but significant half-century history of Japan's once-formidable North Korea lobby.
In late June, a Japanese court ordered Chongryon, a business, education, and banking organization formally representing pro-North Korean members of Japan's ethnic Korean minority, to auction off its ten-story office building in downtown Tokyo, effectively ending its mission of bringing money into North Korea and pushing propaganda out. The group's problems are essentially financial: Chongryon owes the Japanese government nearly $750 million for a late-90s emergency bailout that rescued the group's network of credit unions, which were rapidly de-capitalized because of remittances to North Korea during the country's devastating mid-90s famine, an economic and humanitarian catastrophe that killed up to 2 million people...
The author talks to Michael Green, getting Dr. Green to wax anti-Liberal Democratic Party over the Tanaka-Takeshita Faction's embrace of the DPRK and its Japan-based operatives and operations.
But why must all good things come to an end? Why does the author...
- claim that Korean residents of Japan suffer discrimination even today, offering as evidence an inoffensive but informative Minoru Matsutani article on the new foreign registration law (E)? The Matsutani article makes no a claim of discrimination, unless you consider the convenience of going to the local ward or municipal office for one's new foreign registration card, as the non-naturalized have always done, discrimination. Of course the law discriminates, but not in a pejorative sense.
- state that Koreans of the two nations of the Peninsula make up the largest group of foreign residents of Japan? That status belongs to the Chinese (J). This has been the case for several years now.
- provides as a reference for Chongryon's use of pachinko parlors as as main funding mechanism a page from an aggregator "Japan stuff" website that does not even once make such a claim? What there is on the linked page is a further link to the website of an anonymous British blogger who makes this claim, without supporting evidence.
- quote the English-language page of a North Korea friendship organization as the source for numbers of Chongryon's members at the height of the organization's wealth and influence?
The fall of Chongryon over the government's bailout of its credit unions should be a fascinating tale. However, this is not the article to read about it.
How this rubbish slipped past the editors at The Atlantic is beyond me.
Later - The need to run an errand prevented me from noting the caption to the seven-year old file photo accompanying the article. You will love it; I am sure. Just click on the below image for a larger view.
The operatically minded have to ask: what has made Rosen so cavalier?