• Kyodo

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North Korea’s official media reported Thursday that a Japanese trader has been detained for allegedly trying to set up a drug-smuggling operation.

The Korean Central News Agency said a man identified as Yoshiaki Sawada, a department director for Enterprise Co., “is now under investigation by a competent institution for his attempted drug smuggling.”

The report said an investigation has determined that the man, who had entered North Korea on Oct. 14 “under the pretext of trade,” had “planned to bribe a North Korean into buying drugs from a third country and smuggle them into Japan on board the Mangyongbong-92 at the instruction of his ‘master.’ “

The Mangyongbong-92 is a North Korean passenger-cargo ferry that makes irregular runs to the port of Niigata.

“He will be sternly dealt with by a relevant law when the truth of the case is proved,” the report said.

The agency said the case “occurred at a time when the hostile forces in Japan are calling for stopping the ship from visiting the Japanese port, dubbing it a ‘ship for illegal remittance,’ a ‘ship transporting missile parts’ and a ‘spy ship’ in a bid to push DPRK-Japan relations to their worst state.”

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