Global Festival in Tokyo Proves Popular
Almost Eighty Thousand Attend
A Global Festival to commemorate the global citizenship of every person on earth was held for two days in Tokyo, beginning on Oct. 6, which is designated International Cooperation Day. The event was hosted by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and Japan Bank for International Cooperation.
The Festival drew nearly 80,000 visitors.
As part of our own activities to direct attention to the North Korean refugee issue, our group, Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR) displayed a number of items from everyday life in North Korea, including school textbooks and stamps, and continuously played the documentary DVDs Seoul Train and Public Execution.
LFNKR members manning our booth were very encouraged by the participation of three new former North Korean refugees, whom LFNKR helped to reach Japan and settle here. They explained the situations and related their own experiences in North Korea to the people who visited the LFNKR booth.
LFNKR members staffing the booth were surprised by the intense interest in the near-crumbling school textbooks from North Korea. The books attracted consistently large crowds, with many of the visitors requesting permission to photograph them.
The textbooks shown below were received from several North Korean refugees whom LFNKR helped reach Japan. Until the 1980’s the country used ordinary pulp paper to print textbooks, but when the government could no longer afford pulp they began using paper made from corn husks (excluding the outermost husks). The ink used for printing is of extremely low quality. The textbooks are re-used for many years, thus the serious worn and tattered condition. Visitors had to handle the books very carefully to keep the books from coming apart.