Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA) has reported that it suspects there are at least three secret factories producing illicit stimulant drugs in North Korea, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Saturday.
The Japanese daily said that Hiroto Yoshimura, deputy commissioner general of the NPA, mentioned the suspicion of the facilities during his speech as a Japanese representative at the U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs’ closed-door meeting in Vienna on Wednesday.
The commission is under the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.
Two of the three factories are located in areas where pharmaceutical factories were situated when the Korean Peninsula was under Japanese colonial control, Yomiuri reported quoting sources.
It is highly possible that North Korea has been using the factories to produce the drugs, according to the report.
It is the first time that the NPA has mentioned at an international conference the locations of stimulant drug factories in North Korea.
Over smuggling of North Korea’s stimulant drugs, the NPA reexamined seven cases uncovered from 1997 to May last year, in which about 1,500 kilograms of stimulant drugs were seized.
As a result, the NPA determined in July that Pyongyang was involved in an organized way on the grounds:
_ Spy boats of North Korea’s secret agency have been used as a means of transportation.
_ North Koreans arrested for smuggling made confessions hinting they had been acting under the instructions of the North Korean government.
According to the authorities, the drugs seized are divided into three types, based on analyses made of the contents. Due to differences in impurities and crystalline elements, the police are increasingly under the belief the drugs were produced at different locations.
Further, the authorities analyzed confessions of suspects arrested for smuggling stimulant drugs, data from intelligence satellites and the moves of covert operations boats and cargo vessels that transported the drugs.
The police strongly believe buildings in Wonsan in North Korea’s east and Chongjin in the northeast are drug factories.
Both places are where the Japanese pharmaceutical factories were located before World War II.
Also, it has been confirmed that stimulant drugs were sent from a port at Nampo near Pyongyang and there is a building suspected to be a drug factory near the port.
In addition, the NPA has obtained information there is another factory along the Yalu River near the border with China.
In November, the NPA reported at an international conference in Bangkok on controlling drugs in the Asia-Pacific area of North Korea’s state involvement in stimulant drug smuggling.