[EDITORIALS]Rooting out wrongdoersA list of 708 people who collaborated with the colonial Japanese government was made public Thursday for the first time since Korea's liberation. The list, released just before the anniversary of the March 1 independence movement, has awakened many people's interest in two aspects. First, the list was drawn up by lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties based on the colonial government's newsletters, and through consultations with the Korea Liberation Association, scholars, the legal community and the press. Second, the list includes 16 deceased leaders from various sectors, including culture, religion and the press. The National Assembly had been asked to add another 16 people by the Korea Liberation Association; fierce debates on those 16 continued until the very last moment prior to the announcement. The addition of those 16 people will long remain controversial.
Although 56 years have passed since national liberation, cleansing the wrongdoing of the Japanese colonial period has been postponed, leaving behind an unsolved mission in our modern history. There should be no dissenting views of how our history is set down, and the result should promote national spirit. The historical truth and objective validity are the important standards distinguishing collaborators with the Japanese colonial government.
By leaving the special condition in our society immediately after liberation out of account, it is difficult to judge who the collaborators are. Some argued that the "anti-Japanese movement was not the only way to patriotism," and "collaboration with the colonial government was unavoidable to survive the era." The evaluation of the collaborators with the Japanese colonial government begins now.
The Korea Parliamentary Leagues on National Spirit said Thursday's list was just the beginning of a long process; the lawmakers' group will submit a bill to the National Assembly in order to enact a special law to uncover the historical truth. We hope that the lawmakers' work has a fruitful outcome, at least in rediscovering our history on a legal basis by an authority with binding power.