Documenting lessonsKorea hardly has any white papers. In March, the JoongAng Sunday (a sister paper of the JoongAng Daily) did an analysis of the top 20 biggest social controversies in Korea between 1993 and 2007 and found that there were only two white papers addressing these issues.
White papers are precious reports on our failings. By researching what went wrong, we can gain insight and knowledge and learn from our past mistakes.
In this respect, the U.S. beef import issue is an important failure and needs a white paper. The governing and opposition parties have agreed to finally open the National Assembly and conduct an investigation of the U.S. beef issue.
Accordingly, they need to form a special investigative committee regarding this and produce a white paper.
This paper needs to be much more thorough and detailed than other reports by the government, in order to bring divided public opinion together.
It also needs to serve as a reality check for the administration and state which part of the government needs to take responsibility for this failed government policy.
By doing this, it can help stop the same thing from happening in the future and help the country to become properly globalized.
The United States produced a six-volume, 3,000 page white paper and formed a special investigation team after the U.S. space shuttle Columbia accident in 2003, in which the shuttle exploded during re-entry.
The conclusion was that this accident was a man-made disaster, which would have been preventable if officials had learned the lessons from the earlier explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986.
NASA’s tight team was credited with making the white paper possible. With the white paper, 44 related pieces of equipment were improved upon and a new safety center was created.
Japan has a stringent database that compiles failed policies and accidents, and it even includes Korean incidents.
White papers serve as a checkpoint that can turn a failure into a success story. The governing and opposition parties must rise beyond looking only after their own interests and through a proper government inspection, regain the public’s trust. The government also needs to be proactive in making sure the investigation is conducted properly.
The burdensome candlelight vigils could actually work as good medicine for the country.