A Terrorist State; Which Country?

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A Terrorist State; Which Country?

(December, 2007)

On February 13, 2007, after three years, the Six-Party Talks produced an Agreement, leading to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and improved relationships among involved countries. Recently, the implementation of the Agreement has gained momentum primarily due to diplomatic finesse employed by the US, as well as to North Korea’s willingness to negotiate away their nuclear weapons system for an improved relationship with the United States.

Essential toward an improved relationship must be the removal by US of North Korea from the “List of States Sponsoring Terrorist Activities”. This is prerequisite for lifting “The Trading with the Enemy Act”, embargo, conversion of the current Armistice to a “Peace Treaty” and finally the establishment of full “Diplomatic Relations” between the two countries. This process is being anxiously and hopefully watched by 1.2 million Korean-Americans, praying for the eventual reunification of the Korean peninsula.

Therefore, Korean-Americans have been stunned and outraged to learn that the Japanese are lobbying the US government and Congress against removing North Korea from the Terrorist List citing the 37-year old issue of abduction of 16 Japanese citizens by the North Korean intelligence agency. They had been used as Japanese language instructors and /or providers of Japanese identities for North Korean Agents.

Abduction of Japanese Citizens by North Korea:

In September, 2002, at the Japan-DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: North Korea) summit meeting, North Korea admitted the abduction of 13 individuals and offered an official apology with a pledge to punish the involved personnel. Later that year, five abduction survivors were returned to Japan, other eight were deceased. Numerous investigations and joint meetings between the representatives of the two countries revealed no further abductees. Apologies had been issued repeatedly by North Korea.

Many Korean-Americans openly denounce the government of North Korea for this violation of human rights. However they take pride in the fact that North Korea has been forthright in admitting the abduction and had formally offered apologies. Indeed when one reviews the history of the two countries, there clearly have been atrocities committed by the Japanese on the Koreans in an incomparably greater scale, however the Japanese have never once apologized for their actions.

Atrocities Committed by the Japanese on the Korean People:

In 1592 Japan invaded Korea without any provocation with an army of 300,000. The immediate result was complete devastation of the peninsula, pain and suffering on the people, and pilfering of cultural artifacts, flattening of cities. The occupation lasted for three years, when a Korean naval force led by Admiral Lee. Soon-shin successfully destroyed Japanese navy, choking off their supply line. In 1597, the Japanese returned with equal ferocity and savagery and again were chased away by the legendary Admiral Lee. This time however they abducted over 7,000 Korean civilians to Japan to work agricultural slaves, concubines, laborers, and artisans producing ceramics and pottery.
After defeating Chinese and Russian influence on the Korean peninsula, Japan in 1910 formally annexed Korea, thus began 36 years of harsh colonial rule until 1945 when Korea was liberated by the Allies. On March 1, 1919, a nonviolent and peaceful demonstration by Korean people was held demanding independence from the Japanese occupation. This was encouraged by US President Wilson’s “Self-Determination Principle”. The movement was met by an unprecedently fierce Japanese oppression that resulted in 7,500 Korean civilian deaths.
On September 1, 1923, a severe earthquake hit Tokyo area causing great damage, fire and casualties. There was unfound rumor spread deliberately among the Japanese that Korean residents were responsible for the fire and looting. Indiscriminate killings of Koreans ensued, resulting in over 6,000 Korean deaths officially estimated by the Japanese authority.
During World War II, untold numbers of Korean young men were conscripted to work in Japanese war factories, mines and shipyards as uncompensated laborers. After the war, many returned to Korea but there was never an organized effort by the Japanese government to repatriate them. The majority of current Korean residents of Japan lives under a highly ethnically discriminatory society. They are the descendants of these former Korean conscripts.
About 38,000 Korean young men were sent Sakhalin during the WW II to work as forced laborers in coal mines. When the war ended, the Japanese made a hasty retreat to their homeland leaving the Koreans to the mercy of advancing Soviet Army. Today, they are still there as Russians numbering about 40,000, some still yearning to return to Korea, their homeland.
Finally, there is the sad story of 200,000 so called “Comfort Women” a euphemism given to forced sex-slaves Japan conscripted from the country-side of Korea during World War II to “service” their soldiers in front lines. There are a handful of surviving women, now in their twilight, living in a government provided facility in Seoul. They are a living witness to the deceit of the Japanese who still deny that it ever happened.

Clearly and undeniably Japan owes much more to Korea than vice versa. Therefore, most Korean-Americans view the current Japanese attempt to negatively influence the developing détente between the US and North Korea as deeply deplorable, chauvinistic, and utterly counter to the spirit of resolution between the two neighbor countries, Japan and Korea.

We urge the Japanese government and people to cease this interference.

We urge our government in Washington and our people, the American public to steadfastly proceed with the current diplomatic process of détente with North Korea.


Korean American National Coordinating Council (KANCC)


www. kancc.org

Korea Peace Network
P.O. Box 8244
Rochester, MI 48307
Phone: (586)-431-9699
For previously published letters, please click on the following links
Open Letter to Mr. Teachout
An Open Letter to Shinzo Abe
July 2006 letter on the North Korean Missle Crisis