A fair society? Most Koreans don’t think so

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A fair society? Most Koreans don’t think so


Koreans are not convinced that they live in a fair society, something President Lee Myung-bak has pushed as the theme for the latter half of his term since his Independence Day speech in August, according to a survey conducted by the JoongAng Ilbo.

The annual survey of 2,017 Koreans over the age 19 was conducted last Thursday to yesterday, and found that 73 percent of Koreans believe their society is unfair - 26 percent said it was fair.

Meanwhile, 73.5 percent said small- to medium-sized businesses in Korea suffer because of conglomerates, confirming the sentiment of those that don’t believe Korea is a fair society.

Lee had a meeting last week with the heads of conglomerates in Korea, expressing the need for cooperation over the prosperity of conglomerates and smaller businesses in the country.

But the survey showed that positive feelings by the public toward conglomerates, which measured roughly 40 percent in years past, dropped to 29.9 percent this year.

Survey results showed that South Koreans are wary of the possibility of a war initiated by North Korea, despite recent motions from Pyongyang that could relax tensions between the two countries.

In the survey, 62.9 percent of South Koreans believe there is a big possibility of North Korea invading the South, a sharp increase from 48.8 percent in 2008.

However, most South Koreans were in agreement on cooperating with North Korea, with 66.4 percent supporting rice provisions for the North and 84.2 percent wanting summit talks between the two countries.

Also, 50.5 percent said that economic cooperation between the two Koreas would be beneficial for both countries and 44.9 percent agreed that North Korea policies should take on a more mutual stance, with both parties giving and taking equally.

Thirty-nine percent said North Korea should be helped “as much as possible” to induce the opening of its economy. Additionally, 14.6 percent believe that a more hostile attitude should be taken in dealing with North Korea.

More people were found to have changed their minds regarding a unification tax with 51.5 percent in support. This was also another issue the president addressed during his speech in August.

A survey conducted on the tax last month, when it was first suggested, had indicated 39.2 percent of citizens were supportive of the idea.

By Shin Chang-woon, Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]
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