Money walksProsecutors have sought arrest warrants for the chairmen of five companies on charges that they received money or goods in return for recruiting unqualified youths for positions designated by the government as alternatives to military service.
But this is said to be the tip of the iceberg. Many other tricks were employed. Bogus companies were established with phony documents, and they recruited young people who wanted to serve their military service in companies rather than the army. Companies like this passed vacant positions between one another. A senior official for the prosecution lamented that the investigation made him sick because there were so many examples, giving a hint at the depth of the corruption.
There is a more serious problem than the diversity of scams. Most of those who commit corrupt acts with regard to military service are from the rich or leadership class of our society. This is very likely to be the case in this most recent scandal. The son of a man who had been a government minister has already been questioned by the police. There are 10 other people waiting to be questioned who are sons of former or incumbent ministers or vice ministers. Among 55 people who have high-level government officials as fathers and work in companies as a substitute for their military duty, some 20 work in fields that have nothing to do with their college majors.
This recent scandal is even more serious than past cases in which people fabricated their health reports to receive exemption from military duty. This scandal can create the poisonous belief that people with money and power can walk away from their military duty while people without such privileges have to go and “rot in the military.”
For a long time there have been rumors that only idiots go to the military and serve out a full term. Although this is just a rumor, its persistence shows that this scandal is deeply rooted in our society.
The Office of Military Manpower Administration is the body that has biggest responsibility in allowing this unbelievable corruption. The national office made only cursory checks of claims made by phony companies and hence enabled some people to avoid their duty.
The prosecution must take this issue seriously and should work to correct problems at the root of our society as it investigates this case. It must reveal which companies are corrupt and it should reveal whether the military office backed the companies. The prosecution must be determined to root out corruption related to military service.
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