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North Korea Lengthens Business Hours and Builds More Markets

North Korea Lengthens Business Hours and Builds More Markets

Posted November. 28, 2004 23:03,   


The Tokyo Shimbun in Japan reported November 27 while citing North Korea’s internal documents that North Korea has decided to actively foster the establishment of markets and lengthen business hours until late in the evening.

This measure was put into effect after an order by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il according to a confidential document that the Chunichi Shimbun obtained. The document, Cabinet Decision No. 27, which deals with adopting regulations to administer markets, was published on May 5, 2003.

The document said, “There was an order from our leader, Kim Jong Il, to foster markets in order to facilitate the socialist economy and to help make the life of the people efficient.”

The number of markets that are to be established is not revealed, but the establishment and the shutdown of a market is administered by the Commerce Ministry, and the management of markets is handled by the Council of People`s Commissars in each province, city, and county.

Also, it has been laid down that business hours should be expanded so that laborers can shop after they leave work, and agricultural products, food, and life’s necessities except those manufactured by the state can be sold in shops. In addition, there should be a limit on prices so that sales are made within certain price range, and merchants should pay rental fees according to the size and the location of their stores.

In case of violations of rules, people will be indicted with penal and administrative responsibilities.

It is reported that there are about 40 markets in Pyongyang, and about 300 markets in areas outside of Pyongyang.

Ho-Gab Lee gdt@donga.com