No freedom of speech in S.Korea
On 27 July, Ozonfa(呉善花), who is a critical writer and a professor at Takushoku University, naturalized in Japan from S.Korea, was refused entry to S.Korea. She said when she arrived at Incheon Airport in S.K., she was stopped at immigration and was denied entry. The immigration officer refused to answer the reason for the denial, no matter how many times she asked. She had to turn straight back into Japan. She was just trying to attend her relative’s wedding ceremony there.
Ozonfa is known in Japan for her severe criticism against S.K’s perceptions of history. She said that the S.K. govt shouldn’t have done such deeds if they thought they were civilized.
S.K. has denied 3 Japanese Diet members entry to the country without any cause before. They only planned to view Takeshima(Dokdo) from Ulleungdo(鬱陵島).
It is said that S. Koreans cannot say good things about Japan without risking their lives. People who praise Japan or Japanese, if only a little, could be roundly accused by the public. They get anti-Japanese education from a very young age. Parents teach their children “you can do everything to defeat Japanese”. They made a specific legal rule to punish people who cooperated with Japan during the colonial period.
The only sure thing is that S.K. is still neither a civilized country nor a democracy.
Ms.Ozonfa appeared on a Japanese YouTube video program by Channel Sakura after the incident.
(Hereinafter, a partial transcript of a conversation on the video. not verbatim translation)
Ozonfa says ..
I asked many times why I could not enter S.K., but the immigration officer said “We can’t say anything about it. We only obey orders from above” repeatedly. I was absolutely disgusted with S.K’s response to me. My name seems to be on a blacklist of the immigration office.
Satoru Mizushima, who owns the Ch. Sakura TV and a social commentator, says ..
It’s a serious diplomatic problem. S.K. has often broken the international rules. Even though it proclaims itself a democracy with freedom of speech, it didn’t allow an innocent foreigner into the country. According to the NHK news, the S.Korean authorities said they couldn’t tell the real reason for the exclusion to anybody but her. However, Ms.Ozonfa said she heard nothing from them. S.K. broke a rule also in a soccer match between Japan and S.K. in the East Asian Cup recently.
Yuichi Maeda, a film analyst and a commentator of Ch. Sakura, describes the outline of the soccer game case..
In the Japan-S.K. match in the East Asian Cup held in Seoul on 28 July, the S. Korean supporters displayed a huge banner that read, “People who forget their history do not have a future”, using the game to get publicity for their political claim about a historical issue. They also held up a big banner showing a portrait of An Jungun who assassinated Hirobumi Ito, the first prime minister of Japan.
I wonder why they dared to do such things? It is clearly a regulatory violation of FIFA to make a political claim at an international soccer match.
S.K. also has made a fuss by holding up a sign with slogan over territorial issues with Japan in the socer game of Japan and S.K. in London Olympics. They seem to have not come to be able to observe the rules, worse still, S.K. was the host country for this East Asian Cup…
The point of this time incident is that the S.Korean media also excoriated her with the govt. What’s going on in S.Korean journalism?
Kazuo Ijiri, an ex-professor at Takushoku University says..
I would say from my experience that the S. Korean media have neither neutrality nor objectivity, besides never even being reasonable. Whether personally or as a nation, they couldn’t give a reaction in a rational way. So, no matter how rationally the Japanese side deal with the Koreans, they could not communicate acceptably with S. Koreans. It’s absurd.
The most possible reason for refusing entry into S.K is my verbal critical activity because that’s all I’m doing now. If so, S.K. is not a civilized country. The thing they did to me is nothing but suppression of free speech. The right to freedom of speech is a minimum requisite for a civilized country. If it really were civilized, at least one media must have criticized the govt’s suppression of free speech against me. However, now they do nothing other than harass me intensely. The S.K. people should feel shame at the conduct by the govt this time as a member of the international community.
I don’t think Prof.Ozonfa does mean to write something bad about S.K but only analyzes the problems of S.K in a non-emotional manner as a journalist. Japan also has its strengths and weaknesses, but every Japanese can criticize Japan’s weaknesses openly and sharply.
The S. Korean media or people are criticizing me without deeper knowledge about me. They are not qualified to be journalists. They hate me because I wrote the truth about S.K. However, even if I wrote what the S. Koreans don’t want to hear, the govt should not act like this. That is not what a civilized nation does. I just want to advise the Koreans on what they really need.
Korea these days looks odd. For instance, they try to even violate the Japan-S.K Basic Relations Treaty signed between both parties formally by dredging up the compensation issue already settled. They are also refusing to return the Buddha statue to Japan, which was stolen from a Japanese temple by the Korean theft ring, against the international rule. I feel Korea is getting worse rapidly.
The South Koreans see anything only for sentimental reasons especially in relation to Japan. So no matter how true or right things Japanese people say, they are not even going to listen to that. That is a crying shame. First, I want S.Korean intellectual people to be open to others’ opinions. The govt, people, media, anything and everything have a strong anti-Japan sentiment there, so they developed this sort of inappropriate behavior by democratic people. I feel hopeless seeing that nobody responds with sharp criticism to the attitude of the govt toward me. For North Korea it may be possible, but I can’t believe this happened in S. Korea.
This could be a big disadvantage to S.K as the world would regard S.K as a country that can neither understand common sense nor follow the international laws. Some Koreans hang the “People who forget the history have no future” sign at the East Asian Cup, but the slogan suits S.K better (sigh), and if they keep on acting like that, they would really have no future.
Kazuo Ijiri says..
Now S.Korea seems to become a totalitarian country in the direction of anti-Japan.
Although each country should be able to have each historical perception, there is only one for S.K and it trys to mold the other country’s one into their own liking. This is the history issue that the SKrean side has. I guess that for S.Kreans, denying me entry to S.K means to denying Japan, .
I suspect the decision may be an order from the president. That means it is the will of the nation. This is a major problem. We cannot leave this issue unsettled as Japanese. We are going to make an appeal to our govt or ruling lawmakers.
As the S.Korean public are feeling significant insecurity either socially or economically, they maybe concentrate on anti-Japan activities for getting out of the insecurity. I would like the korean knowledgeable persons to handle Japan-Korea disputes more calmly and carefully. I also would like to say Japan should relate with Korea at a distance.
The Korean govt violated my freedom of expression evidently. Some day anybody against Korea will not be able to enter into S.K. It couldn’t change under such circumstances and there is no future in S.Korea. I want Korea to be a nation where the people with different views can exist together.
(sorry if mistranslation)