TOKYO – Citing the move as a core piece of its long-term growth strategy, Konami Digital Entertainment Corporation Limited revealed initial plans today to relocate all offices, including its Tokyo headquarters, from Japan to North Korea by 2018.
A pioneer in the gaming industry and publisher of major titles such as Metal Gear, Castlevania, and Dance Dance Revolution, Konami has struggled in recent years, most visibly in its high-profile separation with developer Hideo Kojima, creator of the acclaimed Metal Gear series, who had been with the company twenty-nine years.
“At Konami Digital Entertainment, this is a revolutionary time,” explained Hideki Hayakawa, the company’s Chief Executive Officer since April 2015, in a video recorded statement to its Board of Directors. “We’ve recently finalized a major reorganization, including shifting our game development to a more centralized production division system, and now we’re more capable than ever to respond to customer demands and market trends in the quickly-changing digital entertainment industry.”
“The next crucial step in our reformation process is to align our workforce with the culture we’re building here,” said Hayakawa. “And with the support of its glorious leadership, we believe that the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea is where we can make that happen.”
In a report last year, newspaper Nikkei described controversial workplace practices at Konami, including widespread surveillance of employee activity, discipline through public humiliation, and aggressive efforts to isolate and control employees within and outside the workplace.
“Through management’s diligent efforts, we’re confident that our workforce in Japan will be compliant with this transition,” continued Hayakawa. “Inevitably, all our employees will be in excellent condition to adapt to life in North Korea.”
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