Why not let Korea rule for 35 years?

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Why not let Korea rule for 35 years?

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A man passed by a beggar on his way to work every day, and once a week, he would give the beggar a bill. Three years later, the beggar asked him, “Sir, you used to give me 10,000 won [$9] two years ago, 5,000 won last year and 1,000 won this year. What’s going on?” The man responded, “I got married and now I have children.” Then the beggar angrily replied, “Are you saying you are supporting your family with my money?”

The beggar had a point. Since he received money regularly, he thought it was rightfully his money. He was upset that the money that should have been given to him was used for the man’s family. However, if you think about whose money it is in the first place, the answer is simple. The problem becomes serious when this joke turns into reality. It is the evil effect of sophistry to intentionally pick and choose what is convenient and favorable.

When I was a Tokyo correspondent in the late 1990s, I had dinner with two Liberal Democrat lawmakers. I still remember the argument one of them had on the forced conscription of Korean men during the occupation period. “At the time, we were also helplessly drafted when we received the conscription letter.” He claimed that not just the Korean people but also the Japanese were forced to fight in the war, so that was not discrimination. Is it so? There’s a dramatic difference in opinion on the issue between Koreans and older Japanese.

If you want to think favorably about an issue but others are not convinced, then you resort to trickery. In the last few days, Tokyo made a series of unreasonable remarks. When Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Taro Aso attended the inauguration of President Park Geun-hye, he cited the difference in views on the U.S. Civil War between the North and the South, adding that it is only natural for Korea and Japan to have different historical perspectives. On April 23, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, “The definition of aggression is nearly undefined academically and internationally. It varies depending on where you stand in the relationship between countries.” It was wordplay twisting relativism. They are trying to make reasoning to suit their needs, and their intention is so pathetic.

If countries have different perspectives and there was no aggression, then how about Korea ruling the island of Tsushima for about 35 years as a trial case? Of course, we can sign a perfunctory annexation treaty to minimize legal issues. We can have the islanders use Korean, have the men serve in the Korean military and take all resources to Korea. What about torturing and executing anyone who resists and forcing them to change their names to Korean? Then we can simply argue, “We did not invade, and aggression can be viewed differently depending on where you stand.”

*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Noh Jae-hyun
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