15 is the date of defeat of Japan
in the World War II, while it is a day of independence of Korea. Today’s
trade conflict between Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan has ushered in a critical
phase due to ‘export regulation’ policies taken by the Japanese government. The
Abe administration refuses to discuss the issue of war-time forced laborers,
too, stirring up anti-ROK feeling. At the occasion of August 15, 2019, the
Japanese government should recover right mind.
REVIEW SINCERELY HISTORY OF COLONIAL RULE OVER KOREA
to statistics compiled by Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), during
the colonial rule over Korea
beginning in 1910, six to eight million Koreans were forced to work as slaves
and were drafted as soldiers. Two hundred thousand young women were mobilized to
be made ‘comfort women’, being put in the military’s brothels as sexual slaves.
Some 1.5 million Koreans were sent against their will to southeastern Asian
nations and Sakhalin which were occupied by Japan as well as Japanese islands.
of the then-Japan’s Ministry of Interior
figures are not politically exaggerated. The official data of the former
Ministry of Interior of Japan,
too, say that Koreans living in Japan
in 1911 counted approximately 3,000, which grew rapidly in 1920s and reached
over 300 thousand in 1930s. The Government-General of Korea committed
in land investigation, which deprived peasants of their terrain, drove them out
of native villages. Thus, Koreans were compelled to sail to Japan for a
the year 1939, when Japan was
ready for war-time preparedness, forced labor was practiced systematically and openly
in order to fill labor shortage inside Japan. Over one million Koreans
were taken into the country. As the draft system was implemented in 1944 to
recruit Koreans, the figure rose to over two million.
and New Pains
today’s reparation issue of the war-time Korean laborers who fight in the law
court constitutes a tip of iceberg, considering the extraordinary sacrifices of
Koreans, namely a tiny demand of restitution. Koreans who were recruited as
soldiers have not been paid any benefits, nor compensated for deaths and injuries.
those who came to Japan
‘voluntarily’ in order to survive led an unbearable life. In the aftermath of the
great earthquakes in the Kanto area in 1923 several thousands of Koreans were
massacred. An exact number of deaths is unknown even today. Recently a group of
Koreans living in Japan
petitioned the Japanese government to make an apology for the violation of
human rights. The government flatly denied it.
15 is for the Korean people an anniversary of liberation from the sufferings.
Simultaneously, however, it meant a beginning of new agony.
colonial rule of Japan
which lasted for 36 years destroyed a nation building by Koreans, disturbing to
set up a single administrative body of state. The vacuum immediately became a
stage of East-West Cold War, thus the peninsula was divided and governed separately
by the United States and the
Soviet Union. Struggles for a unified nation,
including the insurrection in the Jeju
Island, were fought, but they were
cracked down by the domestic rightwing forces and the US military
dozens of thousand of residents were killed in the island. People fled to Osaka and other regions in Japan. Then, the Korean War broke
out. The same one people fought against each other. How many perished and how
many families split tragically during the eight years from 1945 through 1953
when the war was ceased? Even today the divided nations keep facing sorrows.
root cause of today’s inconsistency lies in the colonial rule of Japan over Korea. The day August 15 must be a
day when we should think over imaginatively.
Prime Minister of Japan told the Korean Ambassador stationed in Japan ‘lack of trustful
relationship’. When the ambassador asked for talks, Minister of Foreign Affairs
of Japan shouted to him, ‘you are rude’. Weeklies incite, saying ‘disrupt
relations with ROK. The government and mass media stoke the flames of general
public. This is out-of-the-way.