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Second crowdfunding campaign starts for radio broadcast targeting North Korean abductees

On April 18, the radio broadcast “Shiokaze,” which informs abductees in North Korea about the current state of the liberation movement in Japan and the global situation in relation to abductions, started a crowdfunding campaign. This is Shiokaze’s second such campaign since May 2021. Shiokaze aims to stabilize its finances although it has secured operating costs for the time being.

 

Shiokaze’s daily air time was expanded from April 2022. The use of radio in contingencies has been highlighted recently, with some media outlets using radio to convey news to Ukraine. which is being invaded by Russia. The Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese Probably Related to North Korea (COMJAN), which operates Shiokaze, wants to use the crowdfunding campaign as an opportunity to publicize the value of Shiokaze.

 

According to COMJAN, it costs about 25 million yen a year to operate Shiokaze. The first crowdfunding campaign, held in May 2021 to raise funds to cover the operating costs, collected about 7.6 million yen in two months. About 2.2 million yen of the collected funds was allocated for transmission and program production. The purpose of the current campaign is the same as in the last campaign. The target amount is set at 6.6 million yen, which is equivalent to three months of transmission costs.

 

From April 2022, Shiokaze added the 2:05 to 3:00 a.m. time slot to the three existing slots (10-11 p.m., 11:05-11:35 p.m., and 1-2 a.m.), thus expanding broadcasts to four per day and broadcast hours to about three and a half hours. COMJAN had been discussing the plan to expand its air time with the government for about two years, coordinating on the frequencies to be used. COMJAN said, “We thought we should increase our opportunities to transmit information as much as possible.”

 

Shiokaze uses shortwaves for its broadcasts. Shortwaves can be transmitted over a long distance, and can be received all over the world without relay stations. During Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the BBC began broadcasting news on shortwave radio to Ukraine and Russia because Russian authorities restricted internet access to the BBC.

 

COMJAN secretary-general Murao Tatsuru said, “Radio is a lifeline in a contingency in North Korea, whose internet environment is vulnerable in the first place. Shiokaze can continue to transmit information in such a context.” Murao said, “I would like everyone to understand Shiokaze’s value. We ask for your support.”

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