I don't work with multi-byte characters or UTF-8 files. But Perl has an amazing ability to deal with these things.
From the open() docs, it could be that all you need to do is open the file in the right encoding mode and that could enable even Perl 5.10.X to work. I don't know for sure, but this idea is worth a try.
open(my $fh, "<:encoding(UTF-8)", "filename")
|| die "can't open UTF-8 encoded filename: $!";
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