North Korea changes time zone

North Korea moved to a new time zone on A ugust 15. It used to be 9 hours ahead of GMT, and in the same time zone as Japan and South Korea. It is now 8.5 hours ahead of GMT. So if it is 10pm in Tokyo, the capital of Japan, it is 9:30pm in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.

The world follows a 24-hour clock. The countries around the globe fall under one or more time zones. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is the time zone of an observatory in Greenwich, a town in the United Kingdom through which the “zero” line of longitude runs. There is no international organization that decides a country’s time zone. A nation can decide what time zone they want to be in. Here is an interactive map that shows the various time zones around the globe.

Why did the time change in North Korea take place on August 15? Well, in order to answer that, we need to go back in history. North and South Korea were part of a single country called Korea for over four thousand years. In 1910, the Japanese occupied Korea and ruled it until the Second World War. When the war ended in 1945, the Japanese had to give up control of Korea. It was on August 15, 1945 that Japan announced its surrender. Before the Japanese occupation, Korea was 8.5 hours ahead of GMT. When the Japanese took over Korea, it was moved to the Japanese time zone that was 9 hours ahead of GMT. In 1948, Korea was split into two nations – North Korea and South Korea.

Here is a video explaining time zones.

Did you know?

The folks at the International Space Station follow GMT as their time zone. So if it is 10pm in Tokyo, it is 1pm at the Space Station.

Did you know?

Russia currently has 11 time zones.

Did you know?

In 2011, Samoa, the island nation in the Pacific Ocean, moved ahead by 24 hours.

Image Credits: CIA.gov for the time zone image
Sources: http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/, http://www.japantimes.co.jp/, BBC, http://www.timeanddate.com/, http://www.history.com/