[EDITORIALS]The hunt for collaboratorsThe law regarding Koreans who cooperated with the Japanese during the colonial period is scheduled to undergo a change even before it goes into effect. The Uri Party said that it plans to present to the National Assembly a revision of the law that includes a wider scope of investigation while it also calls for a strengthened function of the special committee in charge of investigating.
Already in the past we have agreed that the truth regarding those Koreans who cooperated with the Japanese has to come out, but it has to come out in such a way that members of our society do not get separated and become pitched against each other.
A clearing-up of our historical past is necessary. Nevertheless, to argue for a widening of the scope of investigation at this point is puzzling. If not handled correctly, the investigations will be viewed as a lame excuse to be used for political purposes.
Especially, widening the scope of investigation is something that needs to be considered very carefully. If those people who were just ordinary citizens trying to make a living but served as low grade public servants are included, there is a chance that people who don’t deserve punishment will be hurt. If these people are included in the group to be investigated, other people might point fingers at them, labeling them as people who cooperated with the Japanese.
So far, the evaluation process of determining who did what during the colonial days for the Japanese has resulted in deepening friction between scholars and those who are the objects of the evaluation. Those who have admitted to having cooperated with the Japanese are very few. The long time that has passed makes identifying those people even harder.
It is important that the whole process does not become a catalyst of confrontation in our society. We should not forget that defining who did what is an act of getting a clear picture of our history and not of finding and punishing a crime.
In the revision are active investigative measures, while the article forbidding the announcement of names through newspapers, publications and broadcasting has been removed. This leaves a high possibility of defamation of character. It is very important that investigators are objective, analyze thoroughly and are responsible. We have to be careful that not one innocent person suffers.