Schools in Japan with close links to North Korea have been protesting Tokyo’s decision to stop giving these educational establishments financial aid. FRANCE 24 reports from these bastions of the "Hermit Kingdom" in Japan.
Most of the students at these schools were born in Japan. But, like their parents, they show unwavering support for the North Korean communist regime.
Even if it is difficult to pin down an exact number, experts estimate that around 150 000 residents in Japan are supporters of the Pyongyang government.
Their families came from the Korean peninsula to Japan, either voluntarily or as forced labour, when Korea was a Japanese colony up until 1945.
Over the years, their presence in Japan has given rise to a handful of pro-North Korean schools, and even one university.
Japan withdraws funding
The year got off to a tense start for the students of these establishments. Around 6,000 demonstrators gathered in the centre of Tokyo to protest the exclusion of certain high schools from government subsidies through the national tuition waiver programme.
All of the excluded schools have historical ties to North Korea.
"We gather today to say in unison “No to this outright discrimination, to our exclusion and to the deprivation of our rights," says Il Song, a student at the North Korea University, told FRANCE 24.
Japanese nationalists, meanwhile, lined the road to insult and mock these supporters of the closed and autocratic North Korean State, which many in Japan consider to be an existential enemy.
"If you don't want to be treated differently, leave Japan and go back to North Korea," shouted one nationalist heckler.
Supporters of Pyongyang in Japan
North Korean schools in Japan receive abo... Go on reading on our web site.
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