[imText1]Osaka, Japan — Rimjingang, a bi-monthly magazine which reports internal news of North Korea directly through North Korean undercover journalists has launched its first Japanese edition. The first Korean-language edition was published in November, 2007.
“Rimjingang will deliver the most accurate news about North Korea to Japan and South Korea,” said Jiro Ishimaru, the representative of Asia Press’s office in Osaka and chief-editor of Rimjingang, at a press conference held on April 3 to announce the publication of the magazine’s first Japanese edition.
The editor convened press conferences on April 2 and 3 in Osaka and Tokyo respectively, which drew the attention of reporters from about fifteen major media organizations such as the Associated Press, Reuters, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) and Yomiuri Shimbun.
Mr. Ishimaru said, “Little or no accurate information on North Korea has been available, which made it almost impossible to accurately identify problems in the country. As a result, the pace of change has been slow in North Korea.” He added, “Rimjingang will provide the most accurate news on North Korea because its articles are contributed by North Korean residents themselves.”
“Japanese people are very concerned with North Korea. However, not much information on the country has been available and therefore most people do not have a good understanding of North Korea,” Mr. Ishimaru said, “I hope the establishment of Rimjingang’s Japanese edition could help facilitate a change in North Korea with its accurate identification and analysis of North Korean problems .”
Another chief editor Choi Jin I, a 48-year-old who defected from North Korea in 1998 said at the conference, “It is difficult to grasp the actual conditions of North Korea since North Korean media are a mouthpiece for the regime. I believe that Rimjingang will plant the seed of journalism in North Korea.”
The first Japanese edition compiles articles from the first and second Korean edition of Rimjingang. It covers stores about the responses of North Korean people to the 2007 inter-Korean summit and the conditions of Janmadang (market), and runs photos of flood-stricken Pyongyang taken last year.
The edition also features interviews of the country’s economic bureaucrat and residents, which show the ever-increasing discontent among the North Korean people against the regime.
Last year, the producers of Rimjingang sent fifty copies of its first Korean edition to North Korea. Early this year, they sent both the first and second edition to North Korea’s overseas representatives in about thirty countries around the world. The producers also try to publish the magazine’s English edition in June, and from then on plan to produce CD-ROMs of Rimjingang and spread them into North Korea.
Rimjingang has been drawing attention of media home and abroad because the magazine brings news on North Korea from within the country. Moreover, it has been recognized that Rimjingang can help bring about a change in North Korea with its efforts to train North Korean residents into underground journalists and establish journalism in the country.