Navy to build frontline base
The navy is to build an advance base on a frontline island to bolster defenses near the disputed Yellow Sea border with North Korea, officials said yesterday. The navy has been given local government approval to reclaim 23,489m2 at Baengnyeong Island to build the base, said an official at Incheon, which oversees the islands. The defense ministry said the navy would build a dock for small warships, but declined to give details. Yonhap news agency said the new base would include barracks and a training ground and accommodate about 100 troops. It would be completed by the end of 2014.
Official in probe found dead
An official being probed as the possible source of news reports claiming China had breached UN weapons embargoes on North Korea has been found dead, media reports said yesterday. The official, 47, who worked at the foreign ministry’s unit in charge of collecting information on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, was found hanged at his home east of Tokyo on Wednesday last week, the Yomiuri Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun and other media reported. A police spokesman said the death was not thought to be suspicious, but refused to comment further.
Iranian oil imports halted
The government yesterday said it would halt oil imports from Iran starting next month due to a EU ban on insuring shipments of Iranian crude. The insurance ban, which is part of broader EU sanctions aimed at cutting the sources of finance for Iran’s nuclear program, makes it impossible for local companies to ship Iranian crude as they rely on EU companies to insure the shipments. The move affects two oil refiners, SK Energy Co and Hyundai Oil Bank Co.
Joly to help Afghanistan
Crusading judge and former Green party presidential candidate Eva Joly said on Monday she would head a UN mission aimed at tackling corruption in Afghanistan. Joly, 68, said she and two other international experts would carry out regular missions to Afghanistan to fight corruption, which has been fueled by the billions of dollars that have poured into the country since a US-led invasion after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the US. “Our role will be to give advice and to verify progress in the creation of institutions able to fight against corruption,” she said at a press conference, adding that her first mission would be from July 7 to 20.
Dolphins to be protected
The government will ban the catching of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins for use in shows by designating them as protected mammals, the maritime affairs ministry said yesterday. An upcoming bill will also designate sea turtles and sea horses as protected species, the ministry said. Currently it is legal to catch dolphins and whales for a show or for research if authorities give prior approval. Otherwise, it is punishable by a jail term of up to two years or a fine of up to 5 million won (US$4,300).
Police probe cooked genitals
Tokyo police are investigating whether a man who cooked his own severed genitals and served them to five paying diners committed a crime. Mao Sugiyama had his penis and testicles surgically removed in March and kept them frozen for two months before cooking them at a public event last month. Diners each paid ￥20,000 (US$250) for a portion.