North Korea uses Japan-banned ferry to launch service to Vladivostok
Japan Times -- May 18
North Korea launched a ferry service to the Russian city of Vladivostok on Wednesday to develop links and boost economic cooperation, the North's state media said, as it faces increasing isolation over its weapons development.

Experts have said North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, may be hoping closer ties with Russia would help if China, the North’s main economic benefactor, steps up sanctions against it over its weapons programs, in defiance of U.N. resolutions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that while Moscow was opposed to any new countries acquiring nuclear weapons, the world should talk to North Korea rather than threaten it.

The ferry, the Mangyongbong, set sail from the North Korean port of Rajin, the North’s KCNA news agency said.

“Mangyongbong’s operation as the Rajin-Vladivostok international tourist liner will make a positive contribution to developing marine transport and economic cooperation and tourism between the two countries,” it added.

The Russian consul general based in the nearby city of Chongjin saw the ferry off, it said.

The Mangyongbong was in service between the North and Japan before Japan suspended its operations in 2006 after a North Korean missile test.

ロシアと北朝鮮の間で新たな定期航路が開設され、その第1便として北朝鮮の貨客船「万景峰(マンギョンボン)号」がウラジオストクに入港しました。 17日に北朝鮮北東部の羅津(ラジン)港を出発した万景峰号は、18日朝、ロシア極東のウラジオストクに入港しました。

News sources: Japan Times, ANNnewsCH
May 29
Japan's Defense Ministry says North Korea launched a missile on Monday morning. Government officials believe it landed within Japan's exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan. (NHK)
May 29
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Sunday apprehended a 21-year-old man in the theft of two diamonds valued at more than 6 million yen from a jewelry store in Taito Ward, reports TV Asahi (tokyoreporter.com)
May 29
The 70th Cannes Film Festival awarded its top prize, the Palme d'Or, to Swedish director Ruben Ostlund for his comedy "The Square". (NHK)
May 28
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Saturday arrested a 43-year-old man for allegedly shoving a male commuter into a train, leaving him severely injured during an altercation at a station in Chofu City, reports TBS News (tokyoreporter.com)
May 28
Police in Senboku, Akita Prefecture, said a 61-year-old woman was apparently killed by a bear while picking bamboo shoots in the mountains. (Japan Today)
May 28
Leaders from the Group of 7 countries reached consensus on fighting protectionism, but could not find it on climate change. That's the message in a communique from the leaders at the end of a 2-day summit in Italy. (NHK)
May 28
Kanagawa Prefectural Police have arrested two men residing in Tokyo over the alleged sale of fake Viagra pills online, reports Nikkan Sports (tokyoreporter.com)
May 27
A giant deepwater shark known as a megamouth has been found alive in a fishing net in the Pacific Ocean off Mie Prefecture, western Japan. (NHK)
May 27
A former juvenile prison in the city of Nara in western Japan, built in 1908 and designated as an important cultural asset, will be converted into a hotel, the Justice Ministry said Friday. (Jiji)
May 26
A pair of melons produced in the northern city of Yubari, Hokkaido, sold for 1.5 million yen in the first auction of this harvest season on Friday. (Japan Today)