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The government has discovered that the corn unloaded from a North Korean freighter at Aomori port was produced in China, Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiroku Kajiyama said July 18.

“The Aomori Prefectural Government reported to the government that the produce came to Japan from China through North Korea,” Kajiyama told a regular news conference, without elaborating further. The government investigated the case July 17 in the wake of a media report that suggested famine-threatened North Korea might be diverting maize it had been given as international aid relief. A spokesman for the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryun) confirmed July 17 that the corn delivered to a company in Aomori Prefecture originated in China. An article that appeared in the daily Sankei Shimbun on July 17 claiming the grain originated in North Korea was a “frame-up” designed to discredit North Korea, Chongryun said.

The corn, to be used as chicken feed, was grown in Chilin Province and shipped via North Korea’s Chongjin to Aomori, according to association spokesperson Chung-on So. The Sankei Shimbun intentionally distorted the facts when it claimed North Korea might be diverting food it had received as aid from other countries to acquire foreign currency, So said. His group acts on behalf of North Korea because Pyongyang and Tokyo do not have diplomatic relations.

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