Korea’s Forced Labor Propaganda Against Japan Turns a Blind Eye to Forced Labor in Its Own Country. If labor on Gunkanjima and at the Sado gold mine is forced labor, what about coal mine labor in West Germany?

Korea’s Forced Labor Propaganda Against Japan Turns a Blind Eye to Forced Labor in Its Own Country

If labor on Gunkanjima and at the Sado gold mine is forced labor, what about coal mine labor in West Germany?

Korea’s Forced Labor Propaganda Against Japan Turns a Blind Eye to Forced Labor in Its Own Country

Article on March 21st, 2022 by Fundbuilder

About Fundbuilder: (Born in Seoul. Graduated from Korea University. She writes her column with the aim of informing Koreans of the truth, as she regrets that most of the information about Japan that Koreans have learned, heard, and seen since childhood is tainted with distortions, exaggerations, and fabrications. His columns cover a variety of topics, including comfort women, military recruitment, diplomacy, security, and the economy.)

In connection with Koreans working on Gunkanjima and the Sado Mine of Japan in the 1940s, the current Korean government and Koreans claim that it constitutes “forced labor” (or “forced mobilization”). At the time, Koreans working in the mines was legal, but Korea is keen on propaganda as if it were an illegal act.

 However, if we assume that the work at Gunkanjima and the Sado Mine was “forced labor” as Korea claims, then Korea would be the “forced labor power” in that case.

 In the 1960s and 1970s, many Korean miners and nurses traveled to West Germany to work. At the time, West Germany was short of miners, nurses, and other labor. In response, the Korean government concluded a “Korea-Germany Labor Recruitment Agreement” with the German government and sent about 10,000 Korean men and 15,000 women to West Germany to work in coal mines and hospitals. They were dispatched several times and were inundated with applicants.

 For example, in the early 1960s, 46,000 men applied for the 500 miner positions, and the blockbuster Korean film “International Market,” which premiered in 2014 and drew more than 14 million viewers, shows the many Koreans who applied for the miner positions at the time and the many women who won the fierce competition and were sent to work in West Germany’s Korean miners working in the mines are well portrayed.

 In West Germany, Koreans worked in tunnels deeper than 1,000 meters underground. They were constantly killed in burial accidents or run over by coal cars. In many cases, they were injured by malfunctioning mining equipment. At the time, German miners worked eight hours a day, while Korean miners worked 10 hours or more to make more money.

 The majority of Koreans who worked in Japanese coal mines during the Japan-Korea annexation fall into the case of those who voluntarily traveled (from the Korean peninsula to Japan) in order to earn higher wages. There were many cases of smuggling without permission, and Koreans were so eager to work in Japan at that time that the Japanese police cracked down on illegal travel by Koreans.

Is there any essential difference between working in West Germany and on Gunkanjima?

 After 1939, along with voluntary travel, travel by “recruitment” and “government mediation” began as part of the wartime mobilization order. The “recruitment” of Koreans was implemented for only one year, starting in September 1944.

 After 1939, 75% of all Koreans who worked in Japan’s coal mines on Gunkanjima and other islands traveled voluntarily, and only 25% traveled under wartime mobilization orders (recruitment, government mediation, and conscription). Of course, such “recruitment,” “government mediation,” and “recruitment” under the Wartime Mobilization Order are all legal.

 Based on the above, it can be said that the Korean miners who worked in West Germany during the 1960s and 1970s through the “mediation of the Korean government” and some of the Korean miners who worked in Japanese coal mines in the 1940s through “government mediation” are identical in nature.

 Therefore, if Koreans working on Gunkanjima Island and in the Sado mines constituted “forced labor,” as the Korean government and Koreans claim today, then Koreans working in West German coal mines in the 1960s and 1970s would also be “forced labor” by the same logic.

 However, Koreans today are biased in their thinking. While they glorify West German coal mines as workplaces where Koreans worked for the development of their country, they malign Japanese coal mines, such as Gunkanjima, as if they were going through hell.

 And while the West German miners are highly praised for their great devotion to their country, the Gunkanjima miners are maliciously portrayed as victims of Japanese barbarism, even though their deaths were caused by the same industrial accident.

 In 1950, war broke out on the Korean peninsula. The UN forces that entered the war formed an organization called the Korean Service Corps (KSC) in 1951. Korean men between the ages of 35 and 45 who had not been deployed to the front were eligible for mobilization. Until the armistice was called in 1953, some 300,000 Korean men were mobilized for the Korean Service Corps.

 They took on the task of carrying supplies such as food, fuel, and ammunition, and constructing trenches and tents. Carrying various supplies on their backs, they had the dangerous task of supplying food and ammunition to UN and ROK forces engaged in fierce fighting, and approximately 9,000 members of the corps lost their lives.

 Those who survived such hardships were given only a “draft release certificate” and a “return home train ticket” without any special compensation.

Collective Anti-Japanese Psychosis” Seen in Contradictory Korean Attitudes

 The Korean service corps mobilized to the front by UN forces in the 1950s and some Korean miners mobilized to Japanese coal mines at the end of the Japan-Korea annexation period are both identical in nature as a result of “conscription.

 Thus, if today’s Korean government and Koreans claim “forced labor” for Koreans’ service on Gunkanjima and at the Sado Mine, then by the same logic, the performance of duties by Korean service teams mobilized by UN forces in the 1950s would also be “forced labor”. The 600,000 or so Koreans enlisted and serving in the military today would also be victims of forced labor.

 However, Koreans today do not raise any issue with the UN military’s recruitment of Koreans (the Korean Service Corps) and their own recruitment today (military enlistment), while they use the term “forced labor” in their propaganda against the Japanese.

 This contradictory attitude of Korea is a pathological phenomenon that is manifested by the fact that the criteria for value judgment are not based on reason, common sense, rationality, or universal validity, but only on the peripheral emotion of “whether the other party is Japanese or not. Today’s Korea is rife with a single-celled mindset that judges everything to be illegal and wrong if the other party is Japan.

 It is meaningless to expect constructive dialogue with a country in such a state. Since the cause is a kind of disease (collective anti-Japanese psychosis), the solution may not be dialogue, but a pathological approach may be more effective. Just as the new coronas that are raging around the world will pass their peak and wane by themselves, it may be more realistic to hope that the collective anti-Japanese psychosis in South Korea will also tire of its own accord and one day pass its peak and wane.

Forced Labor Against Own Citizens Continues in Korea Today

 True examples of forced labor can be found in the egregious human rights violations that occurred between 1975 and 1987 at a place called the Brothers Welfare Institute (located in Busan) in South Korea.

 The Brothers Welfare Institute illegally imprisoned approximately 3,000 people, including disabled persons and orphans, and forced them to work under the guise of helping the homeless. In addition to forced labor, the inmates were subjected to beatings, sexual assaults, and other abuses from time to time. Over the course of 12 years, more than 500 people died as a result of forced labor and beatings.

 Such brutality was first brought to the attention of Korean society through the revelations of 35 inmates who escaped en masse in March 1987; such forced labor had been practiced on a large scale in Korea for more than a decade until shortly before the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

 Incredible as it may seem, cases of forced labor have been found in Korea well into the 21st century.

 In January 2014, two disabled people who had been forced to work 19 hours a day in a salt field in Shinan, Jeollanam-do Province, and had been confined and abused for more than five years without receiving a dime in wages, escaped. An extensive investigation revealed that more than 60 people with disabilities were in forced labor, in some cases for 13 years. The victims (disabled persons) were sold to the salt fields by brokers (unlicensed employment agencies) who were paid 300,000-1,000,000 won (approx. 29,000-98,000 yen) per disabled person by the salt field owners as a commission. In effect, they were trafficked.

 The handicapped people, unable to bear the abuse, made numerous attempts to escape, but failed each time due to the obstruction of the salt farm owner and the residents of the same village. Even the local police station stood by and virtually aided and abetted this forced labor. This incident is known today in Korea as the “Salt Field Slave Incident.

 What is even more astonishing is that such forced labor is still going on at this very moment.

 It is now known that two abused workers escaped from the same location, a salt field in Shinan, Jeollanam-do, in October 2021 and January 2022, respectively. Two more were recently rescued from the salt fields as well. One of the victims said, “I worked for 10 years without being able to return to my hometown, but the money I earned was only 1 million won (about 98,000 yen). I was always scared because I never knew when I would be beaten. If the investigation is expanded, there is a strong possibility that there will be more victims.

 Perhaps continuing the brutal DNA of Koreans in the past who abused many of the same people (their own people) by turning them into slaves, Korea today continues this evil practice of forced labor against the same people.

Human Trafficking and Forced Labor in South Korea Watched Closely by the U.S. State Department

 In relation to such forced labor cases in Korea, officials from the U.S. Embassy in Korea visited the area (Jeollanam-do Province) in February 2022 to investigate and prepared an official report, which was submitted to the U.S. State Department. Therefore, the possibility cannot be ruled out that such Korean cases will be mentioned in the official reports related to human trafficking and forced labor released annually by the U.S. State Department.

 In conclusion, it can be said that Korea today is a “forced labor powerhouse” unrivaled by any other country. In this aspect, it would be normal for the Korean government and the Korean people to focus their energies on eradicating “real forced labor” in Korea, which is still underway at this very moment in the 21st century, rather than pushing forward with “falsehood-based forced labor” propaganda directed at Japan’s Gunkanjima and Sado Mine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *