Join Justice’s movementThe Justice Ministry is changing. The ministry said it would pay visits to private companies to understand their difficulties and then revise commercial laws that have been criticized for excessively suppressing businesses. The ministry now seems to care more about the corporations than other economy-related ministries ― contrary to its previous efforts to dig into the dark side of private firms. At the center of the changes is Minister of Justice Kim Sung-ho.
At a ceremony celebrating the start of this year, he said, “We need to see if there are any laws or restrictions that hinder economic growth or any conventions or regulations that make companies feel uncomfortable.” In a recent meeting with business leaders, he even said, “We will abolish rules that make it difficult for people to launch new businesses and consider revising commercial laws or other related regulations to protect companies from the increasing number of lawsuits.” The business leaders said they were “surprised and shocked” by the comments.
Mr. Kim announced last year he would exempt firms that confess past accounting fraud through March of this year from criminal punishment. He also rejected a proposal by the Uri Party that the ratio of the increase in home leases and monthly rental fees be limited to 5 percent, saying the measure infringed on individuals’ property rights.
His attitude of trying to carry out the pledges he made is beautiful. “The Justice Ministry, as a ministry not directly engaged in economic policies, has limitations in improving the corporate environment,” Mr. Kim said. If the commerce or finance ministers had heard that comment, they might have been extremely embarrassed. Those ministers that are only focused on currying favor with the incumbent government may well be asked what they were doing while Mr. Kim was helping businesses, which is supposed to be those ministers’ duty. The vice finance minister has been hesitating over the past months to restrict investment in the Seoul metropolitan area, consistently making related companies nervous. The chairman of the Fair Trade Commission is taking the lead in suppressing businesses whenever time allows.
According to the World Bank, Korea’s corporate environment ranked 23rd in the world, falling behind Hong Kong, Japan and even Thailand. Companies are leaving this country and investments are being delayed. We highly recommend that other ministries with ties to the economy join the Justice Ministry’s move to create a business-friendly environment.