"Justice for Victims of North Korea's "paradise on earth" campaign"
Eiko Kawasaki, plaintiff, North Korea defector, survivor of the "paradise on earth" campaign/North Korea repatriation program
Kenji Fukuda, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs of the North Korea repatriation program litigation
11:00-12:00 Tuesday, September 7, 2021
Language: The speech and Q & A will be in Japanese with English interpretation.
Between 1959 and 1984, the North Korean government persuaded about 93,000 ethnic Koreans and Japanese to relocate from Japan with false promises. Operating mostly through the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon), the North propagandized about a "paradise on earth," and said anything needed for life including housing, food, clothes would be fully provided.
Once they arrived in North Korea, however, the invitees were subjected to economic deprivation and blocked from returning to Japan. In August 2018, five victims who escaped from North Korea sued the North Korean government for damages for luring them on false premises. This historic case, currently pending before a Tokyo District Court, is the first lawsuit brought by people living in Japan against the North Korean government.
It has taken three years for the court to examine the complex legal issues involved in the case, including the significant legal issue of whether the North Korean government enjoys sovereign immunity. The Tokyo District Court is expected to finally serve a complaint to North Korea in mid August, 2021. This would be a major, unprecedented step on behalf the plaintiffs, the survivors of the North's "paradise on earth campaign". It would mean that the Tokyo court has ruled the North Korean government does not enjoy the sovereign immunity, and therefore falls under the jurisdiction of Japan.
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