A Japanese-Chinese low-cost retail brand store in Pyongyang continues to be running as usual, despite claims from its head office last week that the controversial store has closed, pictures obtained by NK News showed this week.
According to a notice put on the door in the Miniso shop, located in Kim Jong Un’s showcase Ryomyong Street development, the Pyongyang branch will be undergoing week-long renovation work from July 18 to July 26.
The notice says the Pyongyang branch will resume operations again from July 27, on North Korea’s “Victory Day”, the 64th anniversary of the armistice between the two Koreas.
NK News first reported on the shop in June, and experts were quick to point out its potential breaching of both unilateral Japanese and international sanctions.
The Japanese headquarters of Miniso has so far denied its connection to the Pyongyang branch – and since appears to have deleted a press release which pictured Miyake Jyunya, the company’s Japanese co-founder and chief designer, at the January 18 signing of a strategic cooperation agreement with the North Korea Economic and Trade Department.
Ma Jian, a spokesperson for Miniso in Tokyo, told NK News last Wednesday that although it was not illegal, Miniso’s branch in China had decided to close down the shop in Pyongyang.
Ma insisted that the store did not break Japanese law as there was no direct trade or money transfer between Miniso in Tokyo and Miniso in Pyongyang.
Photos obtained by NK News taken days after Miniso reported its closure show business continues at the store, which sells everything from furniture to electronics.
Asked about the continued business in Pyongyang, Ma on Tuesday appeared surprised and said he would follow up on the case.
Edited by: Oliver Hotham
Main Photo: Wikipedia Commons
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