Executive encourages support for farmers
In a recent interview with the JoongAng Ilbo, Yang said he plans to encourage ethnic Korean entrepreneurs around the world to purchase Korean farm goods and experience rural life in the countryside.
“The over seven million ethnic Koreans abroad are great assets for us,” Yang said.
“They all have a dear wish to see the continuation of Korea’s economic growth and have a special interest in the farming and fishing villages where they once lived.
“Even people who are from cities have a strong sense of loyalty to our farm goods and to rural areas in Korea. Farmers and fishers are having difficulty because of free trade agreements. We are trying to help them.
“We can have ethnic Korean businessmen sign a sisterhood agreement with rural areas where they are originally from or hold a so-called ‘Korea Day’ in many parts of the world and sell Korean farm goods,” Yang added.
The INKE, founded in 1993, has held the World Korean Business Convention and formed a network of ethnic Korean businessmen from 145 regions in 67 countries around the world.
“If we can connect seven million ethnic Koreans, it will be a great help to Korea as a whole and to ethnic Koreans living abroad,” Yang said.
The chairman of the INKE is Han Chang-woo, head of Maruhan, Japan’s largest operator of pachinko parlors. Yang has served as a secretary general since the association’s foundation.
“We’ve formed networks through conventions not only in Korea but also in developing countries,” he said.
Yang has witnessed the 40-year-long emigration history of Koreans.
Since he visited the United States and Japan to take part in a young men’s convention of the Moral Re-Armament movement while he was a student in 1965, he saw opportunities for going abroad.
In the early 1970s, Yang founded immigration agencies including the Korea Immigration Development Corp., and helped Koreans emigrate or find jobs abroad.
“I believed that by sending more Koreans abroad I could make a contribution to and help the development of the country,” he said.
“Ethnic Korean businessmen have been successful abroad around the world despite difficult circumstances,” Yang said.
By Lee Hoo-nam [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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