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More rare news from North Korea

The latest batch of reporting--writing, photography, and video--from North Korea is available online at Asia Press Network (APN). The stories deal with apparent hyperinflation, the emergence of street markets in Pyongyang, and the reported reduction of rations for military personnel. They're the sort of stories you seldom see out of North Korea that give depth to the well-covered military and diplomatic maneuvers across the Korean Peninsula's Demilitarized Zone. 

I hold APN in high regard. After I heard a lecture by APN's Ishimaru Jiro at New York University last November, I posted "News with a genuine North Korea dateline." Ishimaru was promoting a book he edited, Rimjin-gang--News from Inside North Korea, and is the driving force behind organizing a group of North Koreans to whom he gave video and still cameras. APN is a cooperative started in Japan in 1987 to foster independent journalism in Asia.

APN's most recent stories out of North Korea deal with apparent hyperinflation, the emergence of street markets in Pyongyang, and the reported reduction of rations for military personnel. They are the sort of stories you seldom see out of North Korea that give depth to the well-covered military and diplomatic maneuvers across the Korean Peninsula's Demilitarized Zone.

A head's up and a confession of sorts--APN appears online in Japanese, and, if you're like me, you'll need a translation. I use a Google Chrome browser that offers a rough translation of the site's pages. It's far from perfect, but you can get a pretty good idea of the subject matter.

But even scanning APN's site through the foggy window of Chrome's imperfect translation is fascinating. And the reporting is not limited to North Korea. Video and reports from Burma, Nepal, Iraq, and Colombia are available; it's worthwhile drilling down through the site for even more exotic stories.

For full access you'll need to fill out a short questionnaire, but Chrome can't translate it into English. I've asked Ishimaru to come up with a fix. If enough of us make the request, he might be able to solve the problem just that much quicker. You can reach him at rimjingang-en@asiapress.org.

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