MOON JAE-IN’S BIZARRE SCHEME TO IMPLEMENT LEFT-WING REVOLUTION IN SOUTH KOREA
I hate to be personal in describing my impression of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, but if asked, I would probably be inclined to define him as the epitome of “an untrustworthy politician.” Frankly, it was excruciating to watch Moon’s remarks and obviously forced smile during his first news conference of the year. During a Q&A session that followed his opening statement, Moon uttered not a word about the strained relations between Japan and South Korea, and touched on the subject hesitantly only after a Japanese correspondent confronted him with the question.
South Korean government leaders from Moon down have refused to admit possible faults on their part, snapping at their Japanese counterparts instead for criticizing Seoul over recent incidents. They include: 1) a Korean Navy destroyer allegedly locking fire control radar on a Japanese Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) patrol plane last December 20 over Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the Noto Peninsula; and 2) the Korean top court ordering Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Mining Corp last November to compensate four former wartime Korean workers who claim to have been conscripted to work in Japan.
Regarding the radar locking incident, South Korea claimed that the JSDF plane flew at an intimidatingly low altitude over the Korean ships. If that really was the case, why didn’t they protest on the spot in the first place? They were unable to do so presumably because the Japanese plane actually was not flying at such a low altitude.
Further, the Korean side initially did not deny they had targeted fire-control radar at the Japanese plane. What made them switch the point of the argument, now claiming that the P-1 JSDF patrol plane flew over at a low altitude?
Because the plane spotted the Navy destroyer and a Korean Coast Guard patrol boat sandwiching what appeared to be a small fishing vessel in the Japanese EZZ, it was only natural for its pilots to want to closely observe the scene from above as part of their mission to maintain the safety of our territorial waters.
Locking its radar on the Japanese plane in an attempt to drive it away would indicate that the Korean side must have had something to hide.
There is a high possibility what they needed to hide so desperately was something of an extreme important nature to the South Korean side. I think it is logical to surmise that is why they decided not to reveal the truth concerning the radar incident, including this point.
As regards the wartime “conscripted workers” issue, Moon told the press: “South Korea didn’t create this problem; it is a problem created by the unfortunate history (of Japan’s colonization of Korea 1910-1945) …I think the Japanese government should foster a more humble attitude towards wartime issues and respect our judicial decisions.”
Moon said his government cannot but honor the final ruling rendered by the South Korean Supreme Court, emphasizing that South Korea is a democracy that adheres to the separation of the three branches of government. He urged Japan to recognize this fact. I don’t think I am reading too much into the situation when I suspect that, behind this problem, lies a far-reaching scheme on the part of Moon.
Full-Fledge Pro-Pyongyang Leftist Groups Active in South Korea
The Chief Justice of South Korea, who is responsible for the final ruling ordering the Japanese corporation to compensate the four plaintiffs, is Kim Myeong-soo, who was handpicked by Moon on September 25, 2017. A member of a private left-wing law study group within the judiciary branch of the South Korean government, Kim is an extremist who passionately advocates a “pro-Pyongyang and anti-Japan” South Korea. It can be said that, when Moon promoted Kim to chief justice, the direction the South Korean top court would take over the “conscripted workers” case was already fixed.
A South Korean law firm named Hemal has been contracted to assist plaintiffs in their law suits against Japanese corporations. Among the civic bodies morally supporting them are such outfits as the Pacific War Victims Compensation Promotion Council and the Institute for Research in Collaborationists’ Activities.
In 2,000, Hemal’s head lawyer Chang Wan-ick collaborated with Japanese left-wing activists, including Yayori Matsui, formerly a journalist with the liberal mass circulation daily Asahi Shimbun, in hosting a mock trial in Tokyo entitled The Women’s International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan’s Military Sexual Slavery. The trial convicted Emperor Hirohito of war crimes. Chang played the part of the chief prosecutor. Meanwhile, the Institute for Research in Collaborationists’ Activities is a completely left-wing pro-Pyongyang civic body.
We must bear in mind that in 2017 when Moon ran for president, Hemal went all out to back his campaign. As will be mentioned later, the 2017 election implemented on the heels of the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye was an unusual affair that should precisely be termed a leftist “revolution.” Hemal provided Moon every legal support necessary to ride out the election, which was abnormal in every respect.
As is obvious, the values that dictate South Korea’s top court clearly overlap with those of the left-wing anti-Japanese forces that back the plaintiffs in their lawsuits. What we are faced with today is an extraordinary battle with these tireless forces.
Shielding itself behind the principle of the separation of powers, South Korea demands that Japan also honor the final rulings rendered in a lawsuit filed by these forces. But Japan has its own Supreme Court, which has judged that all matters pertaining to the claims by wartime Korean laborers were completely settled when Japan and South Korea agreed to normalize diplomatic relations in 1965. Japan, which also honors the separation of legal, administrative, and judicial powers, naturally abides by the rulings of its Supreme Court—a critical fact that the Korean side must recognize.
While being annoyed by the words and deeds of the South Korean government as regards the afore-mentioned incidents, I was heartened by the opinions of several cool-headed and sensible South Korean experts in the January 1 issue of the One Korea Daily News, a weekly published in Japanese for the Korean community. One of the articles was a transcript of a lecture by Lee Yoon-hoon, former professor at the National Seoul University School of Economics. Lee has been serving as the director of the Syngman Rhee Academy since last year.
Lee’s article was entitled: “Let Us Smash Anti-Japanese Tribalism out of South Korea.” Declaring that “there was a stagnation of spiritual culture through South Korea’s 20th century history,” Lee asserts that his country managed to achieve its modernization by “getting a free ride.” He notes that “the laws, systems, and organizations Korea required for its advancement were all transplanted from Japan with the start of its rule over the Korean peninsula.” In other words, Lee maintains, what was destroyed and what was built in the new Korea was not done “on its own.” This, of course, is a statement most Koreans would very much not like to hear.
Stagnation of Korea’s Spiritual Culture
Lee continues that, against such a backdrop, South Korea still has accomplished much in the postwar years thanks to the achievements of “a small number of creative leaders”—former presidents Syngman Rhee and Park Chung-hee among them. That said, the troubles that South Korea faces today can once again be traced back to “tribalism,” Lee emphasizes. Curious to know how South Koreans define tribalism, I called the weekly to be told by one of its editors that it refers to the mindset of the Koreans during the period of their nation’s insular, pre-democratic stage of development.
Because of a serious stagnation of its spiritual culture, Lee concludes, South Koreans are “ill-balanced in international sensibility…While being endlessly hostile to Japan, they are incredibly lenient toward China.”
There was another crucial article in the weekly, this one about Park’s impeachment and the convictions she subsequently received.
Park last year was sentenced in total to 32 years of penal servitude. This would mean that Park, now 66, technically would be imprisoned until she turns 98. The weekly harshly condemns Park’s impeachment as “the most disgraceful episode in the constitutional history of South Korea.” The only material evidence triggering the impeachment was a tablet PC that was subsequently proved to be a fake. The journalist who raised doubts about the PC episode was arrested and given a jail sentence.
Despite an all-out investigation, the prosecution failed to prove that Park had earned even one Korean won illegitimately while in office. And yet, the South Korean judiciary condemned her and ordered her to pay a fine of 2 billion won (approximately US$2 million). In the absence of any incriminating proof of her taking bribes, the top court judges devised a new scenario in which Park had resorted to “implicit solicitation.” They then charged her with “abuse of power,” a serious crime that had never before existed in Korean criminal law.
By closely observing the process from Park’s impeachment to trial, one can discern an extensive covert scheme that would have been possible only of the close collaboration of the North.
“Lying about things in South Korea,” notes the article, “generally goes unpunished—especially when they are lies told by leftist forces.”
While keeping the hard fact in mind that Japan’s immediate neighbor is unfortunately under the control of the Moon administration now, let us not forget that there are sensible South Koreans like Professor Lee, with whom we Japanese should proactively explore ways to solidify the foundation for a mutually beneficial Tokyo-Seoul relationship going forward.
(Translated from “Renaissance Japan” column no. 836 in the January 24, 2019 issue of The Weekly Shincho)