Aug. 23 (UPI) -- North Korea said Japan is withholding financial support for kindergartens and day-care centers affiliated with pro-Pyongyang organizations in Japan.
Pyongyang's foreign ministry said Friday Japan is discriminating against child-care providers in the world's third-largest economy based on political affiliation. The ministry described the Japanese policy as an "anti-North Korea hostile act."
The pro-North faction in Japan, known as Chongryon, operates dozens of ethnic Korean schools in the country. They are funded in part by the Kim Jong Un regime; teach pro-North Korea ideology; and serve as the opposition to Mindan, the pro-South Korea faction in Japan.
North Korea said Friday legal amendments to Japan's Children and Child Rearing Support Act, passed by Japanese parliament on May 10 and to come into effect in October, exclude financial support for schools affiliated with pro-North Korean groups.
The amendments allow parents to enroll their children in preschool and day care for free, funded by a hike in Japan's consumption tax that will increase from 8 to 10 percent in October, according to Japan's Mainichi Shimbun.
North Korea's state news agency KCNA said ethnic Koreans in Japan pay taxes and therefore should be beneficiaries of the bill.
"It is extremely unfair and evil to discriminate against the children of Korean-Japanese, who are doing their duty to pay the consumption tax just like Japanese people," KCNA said in statement.
KCNA also criticized Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has previously called for "unconditional talks" with North Korea. Abe is "cunningly and viciously" carrying out acts of discrimination against Koreans in Japan, Pyongyang said.
North Korea also said its foreign ministry will not tolerate discriminatory policy.
Last week North Korea propaganda service DPRK Today issued a similar statement claiming Japan is "openly" carrying out racist practices.
DPRK Today also claimed the policy was "premeditated" and Japan's central government informed regional authorities in April to leave out any pro-Pyongyang schools from support.
There are between 800,000 and 1 million people of Korean descent living in Japan.