[Letter to the editor]Criminals, not slave owners
In the J-Style piece “Enslavement of Women Persists Despite New Law” on Thursday, May 17, the story of “Min,” a Korean woman forced into sex slavery in rural Japan, appears. I was astonished to find your staff writer Park Soo-mee refer to the man holding her captive as “Min’s owner!”In no way has this man ever had the right to claim to be “Min’s owner,” he was her captor, which in no way implies “ownership.” In fact what is most surprising is that this term appears to be the choice of Park Soo-mee. Your writers should take care not to sanction or legitimize such brutal criminal behavior by granting legitimacy, even in passing, through the terminology relating to “ownership.” What is most horrific about situations such as those suffered by “Min” is precisely the fact that people are forced into captivity, where they are brutally mistreated, and deprived of the most basic freedoms. It only adds insult to be so careless in reporting their suffering.
Rory Rowan, English teacher, Seoul
Government responsible for birth rate
The number of childbirths in Korea increased last year for the first time in six years. It is believed that the increase is due to the Korean belief in the year of two springs and the year of the golden pig. Therefore, it may be a temporary trend.
The birthrate of the country is very important, because it is directly related to the country’s economy. There are commitments to increase the birthrate all over the world, but few countries have succeeded. To pull up the fertility rate, the government should help working mothers get job security and enhance the public education system.
First, the government should help working mothers get job security to raise the fertility rate. There are some companies that fire female workers after they get married. Also, some companies avoid hiring women with children, because companies think those women are so busy with housework that employers cannot use them freely. To overcome this, the government should prohibit the custom of firing women after marriage.
Also, the government should work hard to change people’s prejudices about the differences between males and females. Working moms are so busy because they have to work at their workplace and do household chores at home at the same time. There should be no borderline about work between males and females. The government should promote it to pull up the fertility rate.
Also, the government should enhance the public education system. One of the reasons couples don’t want to have a child is that it costs too much money to educate children. Parents do not believe in public education, so they send their children to expensive hagwon, private tutoring institutions. If public education is thorough enough and helps slow students keep pace with others, then Korean students won’t need the hagwon.
In conclusion, an optimum birthrate is indispensable for a nation’s economic prosperity. Giving subsidies is not enough to increase a nation’s birthrate, because they are a burden on government finances and are too small. More effective means are needed, such as guaranteeing job security for working moms and promoting public education.
Lee Kyung Min, senior at Daewon Foreign Language High School