RIETI Special Seminar

North Korea as a Complex Humanitarian Emergency


North Korea is a complex humanitarian emergency with food insecurity at its core. As of July 2023, quantity and price data point to a deteriorating situation, and on one metric, food availability is the worst since the 1990s famine. Yet despite this situation, North Korea continues to invest in its military, financed in significant part by illegal activities. In this context, the diplomatic leverage conferred by aid is unclear, nor is North Korea’s priority as a recipient, due to competing needs elsewhere. Resolution of North Korea’s chronic food insecurity would require changes in the regime’s domestic and foreign policy commitments, but this seems unlikely due to enablement by China and Russia.


  • Time and Date: 12:15-13:15, Friday, September 29, 2023 (JST)
  • Venue: Online
  • Language: English
  • Admission: Free
  • Hosts: Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI)
  • Contact: Ms. NAKAMURA, Conference Section
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  • Marcus NOLAND (Executive Vice President and Director of Studies, Peterson Institute for International Economics and Non-Resident Senior Fellow, East-West Center)
    Marcus Noland, executive vice president and director of studies, has been associated with the Institute since 1985. From 2009 through 2012, he served as the Institute's deputy director. His research addresses a wide range of topics at the interstice of economics, political science, and international relations. His areas of geographical knowledge and interest include Asia and Africa where he has lived and worked, and the Middle East. In the past he has written extensively on the economies of Japan, Korea, and China, and is unique among American economists in having devoted serious scholarly effort to the problems of North Korea and the prospects for Korean unification. He won the 2000–01 Ohira Memorial Award for his book Avoiding the Apocalypse: The Future of the Two Koreas. His most recent book, Hard Target: Sanctions, Inducements, and the Case of North Korea (Stanford University Press, 2017) was coauthored with Stephan Haggard.
  • FURUKAWA Katsuhisa (Former Member of the UN Panel of Experts / OSINT Analyst on International Affairs)
  • URATA Shujiro (Chairman, RIETI / Professor Emeritus, Waseda University)