Other problems are draft evasion and desertion, escaping the military, as mentioned above. The ordinary North Koreans are not suffering from food shortage while malnutrition has still plaguing soldiers–over a million people, 5% of the entire population. The state cannot provide them with a sufficient amount of rice due to financial difficulty. Therefore, parents go out of their ways-such as bribing and malingering–to prevent children’s conscription, or at least send them to a “wealthier” division.
The reporter added that “A number of children, who were drafted last year, have come back home due to “sickness.” Some even pretended to have an epileptic seizure. Around eight young people went to the military from my town last year, but three of them have already come back home. They even said that “It’s better to die next to my parents rather than starving to death in the military. I will never go back there.” Regarding those who evaded the conscription, (the state authority) forces their parents to undergo political indoctrinations. If the parents are the members of the Party, they are expelled or discharged from the positions.”
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However, the phenomenon of the draft evasion has not been eradicated yet.
The reporting partner described the atmosphere inside North Korea that “In many cases, fake sickness is accompanied by paying bribes in order to evade the punishment.” Although undergoing the military service is necessary to be a member of the Party or getting promoted in an organization, young people do not care about it anymore. They know the significance of money, and prefer to earn money in the real world as soon as possible.”
The Kim Jong-un regime puts stresses the slogan of the North Korean People's Army, “Serve for the motherland.” However, the new generation is indifferent to the state-imposed ideology as the marketization has gained the momentum. Contrary to the previous generations, the draft evasion–an unprecedented phenomenon–has been taking place. (ISHIMARU Jiro)
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