Last week, Michael Breen wrote about the 1973 kidnapping of Kim Dae-jung from Japan by the KCIA (something I looked at here as well).
The Joongang Ilbo reports on the results of a four year investigation which resulted in assets being seized from 168 descendants of pro-Japanese collaborators. What interested me was how it all started:
The Korean government held the Ancestral Property Recovery Program to find owners of abandoned land in order to spur development. It seemed there was a lot of land around the country that did not have an owner.Some of these descendants won 'back' their land, which prompted the formation of the Investigative Commission on Pro-Japanese Collaborators’ Property.
The program started in municipal areas in 1995 and soon spread nationwide in 2000. Descendants were allowed to claim property they had not known about if they reported to local government offices and went through a search based on their family information. [...]
Instead of keeping quiet for fear of backlash, descendants of Lee Wan-yong, Song Byeong-jun and Lee Ji-yong, all infamous pro-Japanese collaborators, even made land claims.
As the news spread through the country that descendants of three of the biggest “traitors” in the nation’s history were seeking compensation for lost land, the question quickly arose whether or not they should have the same rights to lost property as others, since it was believed the method of acquisition was considered unethical and even immoral.
A Hankyoreh journalist reported on what it was like to live on the government minimum cost of living allowance of 1,110,919 Won for a month. Eating on a budget of 3000 won for lunch and 3,500 won for dinner for three was difficult, and other costs were problematic:
Education costs seemed utterly insurmountable. The minimum livelihood schedule puts education costs for a three-person household at 49,844 Won, which is supposed to cover study and reference materials. [...]And the Chosun Ilbo reports on post-flood conditions in Sinuiju in North Korea. Here's a photo taken during the flooding, and a hidden camera video of Sinuiju can be seen here.
In any case, education expenses came out to more than 125,156 Won. According to National Statistical Office figures, some 87.4 percent of elementary school students received private education in 2009, and private academy expenses averaged out to 245,000 Won per person. It is a reality that cannot be ignored, but it is not reflected in the minimum livelihood schedule.