Ban on Remittances of Pachinko Profit to Pyongyang

[imText1]An American scholar suggested ban on Pachinko, Japanese gaming industry, owners’ transfer of money to North Korea.

Charles Wolf, a senior economic adviser at the RAND Corporation of the US, argued in an interview with Radio Free Asia that Pachinko industry in Japan earned 256 billion dollars annually and about a quarter of that total revenue were owned by mostly pro-Pyongyang ethnic Koreans in Japan. Wolf estimated about 200 million dollars were transferred to North Korea by those ethnic Korean Pachinko owners every year.

“That sum would exceed China’s current account surplus with North Korea, which represents China’s approximate annual subsidy to the North Korean regime,” Wolf pointed out in a commentary in the Asian Wall Street Journal on Nov. 21.

Moreover, given money’s liquidity, Kim Jong Il can exploit the hard currency with more flexibility than oil or food. Such private fund is used to buy loyalty from generals and senior party officials.

Wolf explained that ethnic Koreans in Japan provided such cash to Kim Jong Il because they hoped to help their deprived relatives in North Korea rather than they supported the regime in there.

“If the remittances are monitored, controlled and intercepted by the Japanese authorities rigorously,” Wolf argued, “it would give Japan an important card to play if the six-party talks resume.”