North Korean leader Kim Jong Un applauds during a photo session in Pyongyang
KCNA/Reuters
By Nash Jenkins
August 7, 2015

North Korea’s state media is reporting that on Aug. 15 the country will abandon the time zone it shares with Japan and South Korea and create its own.

Pyongyang Standard Time, as it were, will be 12 and a half hours ahead of the Eastern United States — 30 minutes behind Japan Standard Time, which both Koreas have used since Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula in 1910.

“The wicked Japanese imperialists committed such unpardonable crimes as depriving Korea of even its standard time while mercilessly trampling down its land,” said KCNA, North Korea’s state mouthpiece.

The decision serves to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Korea’s independence, which enabled the political rise of Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s founding father and grandfather to Kim Jong Un, the country’s third and current supreme leader. South Korea briefly returned to its precolonial time zone in 1954 before embracing Japan’s standard in 1961, citing diplomatic benefits.

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