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About The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 7, 2015)
ASIA / PACIFIC
Page 4 n THE ASIAN REPORTER
September 7, 2015
New airport’s internet room a
closed window on North Korea
By Eric Talmadge
The Associated Press
YONGYANG, North Korea —
airport building has all the
features international travellers
have come to expect, though some
lose their luster upon closer examina-
tion. Case in point: Its internet room
appears to be missing the internet.
On two recent trips through the
airport by The Associated Press, the
room’s three terminals were either
occupied by North Korean airport
employees, making it impossible for
others to use them, or were
completely empty, with their key-
boards removed. Attempts to open
any browser with a mouse resulted in
a failure to connect.
Maybe it was a temporary glitch.
It’s hard to say, since airport officials
refused to comment to The AP.
But a quick check of the history on
two of the terminals showed one was
either empty or had been cleared, and
the other had a record only of a visit to
Naenara, the North’s official website.
At first glance, internet at the
airport would seem like quite a
concession for a country that is
almost completely sealed off from the
World Wide Web.
Hardly any North Koreans have
personal-use computers and most of
those with online access can see only
the country’s domestic version of the
web — an intranet that has only web-
AUTUMN ASCENT. Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki poses with a
Nepalese flag during a press conference in Kathmandu, Nepal. Nepal has
opened Mount Everest to climbers for the first time since an earthquake-
triggered avalanche in April killed 19 mountaineers and ended the popular
spring climbing season. Kuriki will be the first to attempt to scale the
world’s highest peak since the quake. (AP Photo/Bikram Rai)
Nepal opens Everest to climbers
for first time since avalanche
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal has opened Mount
Everest to climbers for the first time since an earthquake-
triggered avalanche in April killed 19 mountaineers and
ended the popular spring climbing season.
Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki will be the first to
attempt to scale the world’s highest peak since the quake.
Nepal’s tourism minister, Kripasur Sherpa, gave Kuriki
his climbing permit at a ceremony in Kathmandu.
Kuriki plans to leave for the mountain by helicopter and
reach the summit in mid-September. The autumn season
is considered a difficult time to attempt Everest and is
generally avoided by climbers.
“The main purpose of my climb is to spread the message
that Nepal was safe for climbers and trekkers even after
the earthquake,” Kuriki told reporters.
It will be Kuriki’s fifth attempt at Everest. His four
previous bids to reach the top of the 29,035-foot mountain
were unsuccessful. In his last attempt, in 2012, he lost
nine fingers to frostbite.
Since April’s earthquake, which killed nearly 9,000
people, Nepal has been desperate to bring back the tens of
thousands of tourists who enjoy trekking the country’s
mountain trails and climbing its Himalayan peaks.
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FAÇADE OF MODERNITY. Computers with no keyboards are seen at an internet corner at
the airport in Pyongyang, North Korea on August 24, 2015. The new airport building has just about
everything, including an internet room. The problem is, it doesn’t seem to work. (AP Photo/Dita
sites that are sanctioned by the gov- produced billboard showing a crew of
ernment and is for internal use only.
the nation’s flag-carrier, Air Koryo,
The internet itself can be seen only looking sharp in their blue and red
by a small number of elites, IT uniforms. There are even two
experts, or others with a clear need to chocolate fountains, one for white
use it, and always under close super- chocolate and the other for dark.
Another nod to international
The internet room at the airport, norms can be seen right behind the
which opened a few months ago, is internet room, in the smoking room.
In something almost never seen in
just part of efforts to give visitors
the sense that North Korea is just the North, where just about every
like any other modern travel adult male who can afford it,
including leader Kim Jong Un, is a
Arriving passengers see coffee, smoker, the room has a big sign
well-stocked souvenir shops, a DVD warning that the habit is hazardous
stand, information desk, and a slickly to one’s health.
Japan scraps Olympic logo over plagiarism allegation
EMBLEM ELIMINATED. The logo of
the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games is seen at the
Tokyo Metropolitan Government building in To-
kyo. Tokyo Olympic organizers have decided to
scrap the logo for the 2020 Games following
another allegation that its Japanese designer
might have used copied materials. (AP Photo/
By Mari Yamaguchi
The Associated Press
OKYO — Tokyo Olympic
organizers have decided to
scrap the logo for the 2020
Games following another allegation
its Japanese designer might have
used copied materials.
Reversing their earlier support for
designer Kenjiro Sano against
allegations of plagiarizing the design,
the organizers said the decision came
after new accusations surfaced.
“We have reached a conclusion that
it would be only appropriate for us to
drop the logo and develop a new
emblem,” said Toshio Muto, director
general of the Tokyo organizing
committee. “At this point, we have
decided that the logo cannot gain
The logo has faced scrutiny since a
Belgian designer took legal action
saying it resembled one of his works
that was created for a theater in
Organizers had defended Sano
during a news conference when they
released his original design, which
had been altered into its final shape,
to stress its authenticity. That,
instead, triggered fresh allegations
over the initial “T” design.
Sano, 43, stood by his design, but
offered to withdraw the logo during
discussion with the organizers.
“I swear my design did not involve
copies or plagiarism,” Sano said in a
statement on his website. “Any
attempt of suspected copying or pla-
giarism should never be permitted.”
Muto said the organizing commit-
tee will have another competition to
decide a new logo “as soon as
possible,” though he did not give a
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told
reporters before the announcement
that the organizing committee was
making “an appropriate decision”
and that the Olympics must be an
event that is celebrated by everyone.
The logo scandal is another embar-
rassment for Japan, which scrapped
the initial design of the main stadium
for the games following public uproar
over its skyrocketing cost estimate.
The delay caused by that revision
meant the new stadium won’t be
ready for the 2019 Rugby World Cup
as had been initially promised, and
that organizers and builders will
struggle to meet the revised deadline
of January 2020 set by the Inter-
national Olympic Committee.
“Discontinuing (the logo) within
just over a month of its announce-
ment has shaken the trust” of the peo-
ple and the global sports community,
president Tsunekazu Takeda said in
a statement, urging officials to
promptly provide an explanation.
Sano, who has faced allegations of
plagiarism since the logo’s July
debut, now faces a reputation of a
He apologized to artists and other
involved parties over some of his
works unrelated to the Olympic logo,
while blaming some media for giving
him a “bad image” and reporting “as if
all of my designs were copies.”
He decided to pull the logo as “I
have to protect my family and staff
from persistent attacks and bashing
over the ruckus,” Sano said. “I feel the
situation has become unbearable as a
The latest suspicion surfaced when
he was alleged to have taken a photo
from someone else’s website in
materials used in Olympic logo pres-
entations, including one at its launch,
apparently without permission.
Sano allegedly lifted a photo of a
Tokyo airport lobby posted on the
internet and superimposed his logo
on banners and signposts in the photo
to show how it would look. Details in
the two photos, including people on
the floor and the size of the banners,
were identical in footage shown by
Sano has previously acknowledged
that eight of the 30 designs used for a
brewery’s promotional tote bags
included copies of others’ works. In
those, however, he held his assistants
responsible for having “traced” the
images and he only apologized for the
lack of oversight.
He also faces allegations that his
design for a zoo in central Japan and
another for a public museum outside
Tokyo have close resemblance to
others’ works that had been
published before him.
“I want Mr. Sano to provide an
explanation. I feel like we have been
betrayed,” Tokyo governor Yoichi
Masuzoe told reporters.