Entering a New Phase
Entering a New Phase
  • Choi Seon-uk
  • 승인 2019.10.08 20:32
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Old Inconvenient Adversary Ends Up in Catastrophe
A citizen protests against a Japanese company which made absurd remarks to Korean people.(Photo by reporter Kim Ji-yeong)
A citizen protests against a Japanese company which made absurd remarks to Korean people.(Photo by reporter Kim Ji-yeong)

 The incident completely intensified to the point of collapse. Between Korea and Japan, there’s only cold tension remaining now. People can misunderstand that this is the first time of conflict between Korea and Japan, but it’s not.

 Go further back to a thousand years ago, an uncomfortable cohabitation was started in North East Asia. By the study of humanity’s migration, Korean and Japanese’ human races are really analogous. But, there are some differences by culture’s diffusion speed. For instance, Korea was built in the Korean Peninsula which is linked with China and largely Asia, Europe, and Africa. In contrast, Japan was built in islands, so Japan had no choice but to have slow culture’s diffusion speed. A thousand years ago, the Japanese couldn’t get sufficient resources, so some people became pirate. There’s a record that Korea’s harbor cities were looted by Japanese pirates. That was the first conflict between Korea and Japan.

 After that, shipping technology was developed and lots of European countries’ merchant ships came to Japan. Taking this opportunity, Japan upgraded their weapons and culture. And Japan wanted more chance to be linked with the world. So Japan invaded Korea in the 16th century. Results from this war, Korea lost lots of resources, heritage, and bases of their life. That was recorded in history and consistently known to 21st century’s Koreans as the true history with Japan.

 At the end of the Joseon dynasty, Japan started imperialism and tried to colonize Joseon to the Japanese empire. From 1910 to 1945 Korea was Japan Empire’s colony and most Koreans suffered torments from Japan’s physical and mental exploitaiton. Those 35 years were the darkest time ever in the Korean Peninsula and most of the present time conflicts stem from the history of the last 35 years. Concretely, Japanese military sexual slaves – who are known as ‘Comfort Women’ and forced labor workers by Japan – are living evidence of Japan’s inhumane colonization and proof of Koreans’ hard life.

 Coming back to the 21st century, all Koreans have been educated and have a notion of Korea and Japan’s old relationship. They know what the Japanese did historically, and they think that was an unreasonable relationship. So lots of people try to correct the error and request Japan to properly apologize and pay a reasonable compensation for history’s victims.
Japan compensated some of their faults but that compensation wasn’t satisfactory to the victims and lots of victims still fight with Japan in the courts. For instance, on 28 December, 2015, there was a negotiation between Korea and Japan about Japanese military sexual slavery. The compensation was not sufficient, but it was significant in the sense that Japan admitted their fault and apologized. A few years later, the victims requested an authentic apology and satisfiable compensation. In addition, the Korean Supreme Court reached a verdict for a Japanese company, which employed forced Korean labor workers, to pay them reasonable compensation on 30 October, 2018.

 The Japanese government was perplexed about the Korean court’s judgement. Also some Japanese politicians made ignorant statements about Korean victims. So many Koreans were outraged by the Japanese leaders’ brazen attitude of refusing to admit the histories. And they want Japan to correct their mistakes.

 Nevertheless, on 3 July, 2019, the Japanese government announced that they will reinforce the export rules about three main resources exported to Korean semiconductor industry companies. The semiconductor industry is Korean economy’s main power source, so this economical sanction shocked the Korean economy.

 Furthermore, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced they will exempt Korea from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s whitelist on 2 August, 2019. This means every exporting commodity can’t have comprehensive permission from the Japanese government and should have individual permission when they are exported to Korea.
This economical revenge has a shocking ripple effect to the Korean economy, companies, and people. And all of the economic units must brace for impact and prepare for a counterattack.

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