Moon Jae-in government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) faces a critical phase over
the relationship with the Japanese government. Focal points are two: one is a
response of the Japanese government to a personal letter of President Moon handed
over during the bilateral premier meeting on October 24 and the other is developments
to be seen with regard to the reform in the prosecutor office of the republic.
We will watch how the Japanese government will seek for a sincere talk with the
counterpart and how the ROK’s prosecutor system will be rearranged.
AND ROK FACE CRITICAL PHASE
against former Justice Minister of ROK Cho Kuk have been waged horrendously by
the prosecutors’ circle and the conservative forces. The Japanese rightist
media stir up danger every day, accusing Cho Guk and the Moon government.
People supporting the former president Park Geun-hye as well as opposition
politicians and far-right forces have organized rallies of several hundreds of
thousand participants. Meanwhile, civic groups in favor of Mr. Cho Kuk and the
Moon government held, in parallel, street meetings of several hundreds of
former mobilized the elderly in a systematic way, while the latter attracted
the youth. Mr. Cho resigned from the post of minister of justice on October 14.
As is seen in the subsequent citizens’ rallies, majority of people demand the
Moon government to reform the prosecution.
of the Conservative
October 15, the following day of Mr. Cho’s resignation, the Moon’s cabinet approved
the draft of the prosecution reform plan which has been keenly focused by many.
Developments will attract attention.
Moon government had proposed a plan to reform the prosecution system of the
country as a major pledge during the election campaign and last January it laid
out a concrete sketch. It was Mr. Cho, the then-chief secretary, who was in
charge of the announcement. The ROK’s prosecutor office has an independent authority,
advocating voices of the conservative. Many politicians and activists have been
threatened, prosecuted and indicted by the prosecution in alliance with the
National Intelligence Office in the crackdown of progressive forces.
reform program includes: (1) establishment of an independent ‘office to investigate
crimes committed by high-ranking officials’ and (2) transfer of major powers to
the police authority. These measures represent a long-waited, finalized arrangement
of people of ROK who want democracy. Currently the social opinion of the
country is divided into two and the Moon government faces a low supporting rate,
but before long it will recover popularity if the reform goes successfully.
Abe government and the rightist forces here hope failure of the Moon
government, expecting weaker accusation voices on the Japan’s
colonial rule over the country in the previous century. This government
position is a total error. Though the ROK’s conservative are against the
Democratic People’s Republic
of Korea and in favor of intensifying
the US-ROK alliance, they oppose to the Japanese government.
Moon has consistently addressed to Prime Minister Abe to have talks, but the
latter has been disregarding the calls. As for the wartime Korean slave
laborers, the ROK government suggested the 6/19 Program (=a joint compensation
fund of businesses of both Japan
and ROK), but the Japanese government flatly rejected it.
ROK government has municipalities reserve their ‘ordinances to boycott goods of
the war-criminal enterprises’, trying to restore good atmosphere necessary to
hold bilateral talks. The number of tourists to Japan, however, has dropped by 60% and
the food export figures to ROK have declined by more than 60%.
citizens’ anger to the Japanese government will not stop; the Abe government denounces
ROK as ‘unreliable’ and remains irresponsible for the colonial domination.
relations be worse?
Lee Nak-yeon has brought with him a personal letter of President Moon, which conveys
a sincere wish of Korean people to improve the current relations through
dialogue. Premier Abe, however, only repeats saying, ‘observe the agreement
concluded by the two states’.
GSOMIA, the General Security of Military Information Agreement, will expire in
November. Defendants of the slave laborers suits, the Japanese business bodies,
will see that their properties in ROK will be put on sale in December. More
complicated, grave situation will emerge. The Abe government, intentionally,
aggravates relations. It provokes hatred to ROK among Japanese people, drives viciously
to revise the Constitution of Japan and disturbs aspirations of reconciliation
between the north and the south. We must topple the government’s plan to build
an Imperial Japan.