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Bribe Allegedly Paid In Kim Kidnap Case

Jan 10,2001
TOKYO -In an effort to ease tense ties in 1973, South Korea offered 400 million yen ($3.4 million) to the Japanese prime minister, Kakuei Tanaka , just after Kim Dae-jung was kidnapped in Tokyo, a former Japanese politician has alleged.

Hiroyasu Kimura , then a representative from Niigata Prefecture, said Tanaka accepted the money sent by South Korean President Park Chung Hee. Only afterward did Park's right-hand man, Kim Jong-pil, the prime minister at the time, visit Japan to smooth over the kidnapping incident.

Mr. Kim was kidnapped from a Tokyo hotel by Korean secret service agents because of his activities as a dissident in opposition to Park who forced Mr. Kim to flee for his life.

In an article to be published in the next month's issue of Bungei Shunju, Mr. Kimura asserts he received a call from a South Korean envoy whom he identified as Lee Byung-hee, asking him to arrange a meeting with the Japanese prime minister.

"Mr. Lee said that he wanted to meet the prime minister in person to sort out the prickly relations between the two countries over the kidnapping incident, so I arranged the meeting," said Mr. Kimura. "Then, he asked me if he could give a small present to the minister, and I said yes, thinking it would be something like a biscuit."

However, Mr. Kimura alleges that the small present later turned out to be a bribe he believes totaled around 400 million yen.

The day that the two went together to Mr. Tanaka's residence, Mr. Lee insisted that he was holding a paper bag with two bundles of money inside.

by Nahm Yoon-ho




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