KCNA Japan site isn’t down, it’s geo-blocked

The Japan-based KCNA site, as seen from a Japanese Internet connection on August 8, 2015 (Photo: North Korea Tech)

Sometime in early July, the long-time Japan-based site carrying Korean Central News Agency stories became inaccessible.

That was bad news because it carried an archive of KCNA stories going back 18 years and each story had a unique URL, which made it perfect to hyperlinking back to previous articles (There are many KCNA links on North Korea Tech pointing to the site).

But, it turns out the site hasn’t been taken down. It’s been geo-blocked so connections from outside of Japan are refused.

The block appears to have been implemented on July 6. At least, that’s the last time the Stalin search engine of North Korean news sources accessed the site. It is still being indexed by Google, which is presumably accessing the site via it’s servers in Japan.

The site is run by the Korea News Service a Japanese company affiliated with the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan.

For years, the company was the only way to get access to KCNA news in realtime, direct from Pyongyang. Even today, many foreign news agencies access KCNA through the Korea News Service in Tokyo, but the website was eclipsed in October 2010 when a KCNA site launched directly from Pyongyang.

That site, available at kcna.kp, provides a much faster way to access KCNA than the Japan site, which remains a day behind in its news.

But the Japan site still has the valuable archive. If you’re outside of Japan, about the only way to access is via a VPN service.

Here’s what the site looks like right now from a Japanese Internet connection:

The Japan-based KCNA site, as seen from a Japanese Internet connection on August 8, 2015 (Photo: North Korea Tech)

The Japan-based KCNA site, as seen from a Japanese Internet connection on August 8, 2015 (Photo: North Korea Tech)

14 Comments on "KCNA Japan site isn’t down, it’s geo-blocked"

  1. An attempt to load http://www.kcna.kp generates a warning from Norton Antivirus that an attack has been blocked.

    • Yes, I’ve heard this before. My copy of McAfee doesn’t alert though.

      What are the details of the warning? Does it point to a specific file being downloaded or virus?

      In the past, it was flagging a version of Adobe Flash that KCNA was trying to push on computers that did not have Flash installed.

  2. This is good news. This Japanese KCNA site has been a valuable source of information for me and I been missing it from the beginning of July. I have tried to check it regularly without any success. I found the the Japanese KCNA site much easier to read and find information than the official KCNA site.

  3. I have now setup VPNgate and OpenVPN, connected to a Japanese server and I’m now able to read the KCNA site again. OpenVPN isn’t super fast but OK.

  4. Dear Mr Williams,
    Who geo-blocked it, and why?

    • Presumably the site operator geo-blocked it. This is something that is done on the web server, so they are pretty much the only ones possible of doing this.

      As for why?, who knows? It might be because KCNA wants more traffic to its main site, or that the archive is taking away from commercial sales of old KCNA articles. I can only speculate.

  5. Thanks so much for nailing this, Martyn.

    At risk of sounding dumb: I have no idea how one goes about using VPN. Would appreciate any tips, thanks!

  6. To bad they have geo-blocked it. Does there exist any way to download the full KCNA archive from the website?

  7. This is for Thomas. Thank you, for devising and sharing a work-around!!!

    You wrote, “I downloaded OpenVPN” and used the configuration files for the Japan.” Where exactly is “OpenVPN”?

    I presume that “OpenVPN” has to be down-loaded before use of “the configuration files for the Japan”.

  8. Thank you for this post, I was wondering what happened to kcna.co.jp — unfortunately I cant seem to access kcna.kp either. Super disappointed right now.

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