The legal system in Japan runs a strict protocol to help ensure fairness. Rules must be followed to the letter without bias, even if there are times when bias is usually screaming at you to stop in the name of common sense. It’s times like these that the supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, is summoned to appear in Tokyo District Court.
Court summons are usually delivered directly to the person, but if there is no response or the address is unknown, then it is publicly posted outside the courthouse. Such is the case with this summons which was spotted by a passerby and posted to Twitter.
▼ “There was a crowd in front of the Tokyo District Court bulletin board, so when I went to look.
The infamous dictator is the target of a 500 million-yen lawsuit by five plaintiffs who claimed that they were mislead into moving to the rogue state and forced to live a harsh life. Anyone hearing this today would probably laugh at such a ridiculous idea, but it wasn’t so crazy back in 1959.
This was when North Korea began the Zainichi Chosenjin no Kikan Jigyo, a program to give Koreans living in Japan a chance to repatriate back to their homeland. At this time communism was a far more new and attractive notion and a some people were betting on North Korea emerging as the more successful of the two halves of the relatively recently divided Korea, so many answered the call.
▼ A Zainichi Chosenjin no Kikan Jigyo ship bound for North Korea in 1960
At the same time, North Korea was eager to receive people from Japan in hopes of getting skilled labor to help it grow, so it promoted relocation by calling the country “a paradise on Earth.” Between 1959 and 1984 some 93,000 people, nearly 7,000 of whom were of Japanese descent, made the trip to the DPRK.
As we all now know, North Korea fell short of the “paradise” mark in the ensuing decades, unicorns notwithstanding, and at least five of those thousands who made the journey are disgruntled enough to sue. However, Kim Jong-un wasn’t even alive at the time, so why is he the one being sued?
International law makes it very difficult to sue a foreign government from your own country, but this problem is made painfully simple in Japan because it doesn’t even recognize North Korea as a country in the first place. This leaves the Supreme Leader himself as the defendant, presumably because he is the representative of his late grandfather Kim Il-Sung’s estate.
Will all the legal issues sorted, now it’s just a matter of getting the guy into a courtroom – something that readers of the news suspect might be tricky.
“100-percent impossible, LOL.”
“I’d laugh if he showed up.”
“Someone should call him on a black telephone.”
“If you ask me, the people who actually took that offer in the first place are kind of suspicious.”
“Offer him tickets to Tokyo Disneyland and then hit him with the summons when he comes out. It works every time!”
“Can they fax it to him?”
“Maybe he’ll fire over a 100 million-yen missile as compensation.”
“If he did appear in court it would probably catch everyone off guard and he’d win.”
If anyone, Kim Jong-un does seem like the kind of guy full of himself enough to saunter into court like Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men and give everyone a mouthful in spite of all sense of self-preservation.
Word of the lawsuit probably hasn’t even come close to reaching him though, so in all likelihood Kim Jong-un will fail to appear in a court and the judge will rule in favor of the plaintiffs and issue an order for Kim Jong-un to pay the amount sought in full. In fact, almost the exact same situation played out in South Korea where the North Korean leader is currently on the hook for about $34,000.
Still, in matters like these it’s often said that it isn’t about the money but the principle, so hopefully the plaintiffs can find at least some cold comfort in their impending court victory.
Source: Twitter/@nagoyanokaori, YouTube/FNNプライムオンライン, Hachima Kiko
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