SEOUL, Oct. 24 (Yonhap) -- North Korea denounced Japan on Thursday for excluding the Korean kindergartens closely associated with a pro-Pyongyang association of Korean residents in Japan from its free education program.
Japan has made preschool education and childcare free of charge for children aged between three and five. But about 40 facilities associated with the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, or Chongryon, were excluded from the benefit.
Chongyron is closely linked to Pyongyang and is considered the North's de facto embassy in Tokyo.
"Anti-Japanese sentiments of our people are flaring up because of the unjust step by the Japanese government to have finally excluded the infant classes of Korean schools from the 'free infant education and child upbringing' system," the North's foreign ministry said.
"This is an undisguised hostile move towards the DPRK and an intolerable reckless act of inhumane nature," it said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency, referring to the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The North accused Japan of trying to "suppress and obliterate" Chongryon, saying it is "a legitimate overseas organization" of the North.
"Though repeatedly talking about an unconditional dialogue, the Abe regime will never be able to step across the threshold of our Republic as long as it only chooses to do evil deeds against the trend and pursues hostile policy towards the DPRK," the statement said, referring to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
"(The) Abe regime should bear this in mind and behave with discretion," it said.
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