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Resident Groups in Japan Meet at Last

Posted May. 17, 2006 07:04,   


The Korean Residents’ Union in Japan (or Mindan) and the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (or Chongryon) have come to a historical reconciliation after 50 years of antagonism. Mindan is an organization for South Koreans in Japan and Chongryon is for North Koreans. Ha Byeong-ok, leader of Mindan, is going to meet with Seo Man-sul, leader of Chongryon, at the central headquarters of Chongryon at Chiyoda, Tokyo, and sign a joint statement for their reconciliation and future harmonious relationship. This is the first time ever the two leaders of Mindan and Chongryon have gotten together officially.

On May 16, an official of Mindan said, “Both organizations will agree on participating in the sixth June 15 North-South Korea Summit memorial events in Gwangju and on holding the August 15 events jointly for the unity of Koreans residing in Japan through their meeting on May 17.”

The two leaders’ meeting is an epoch-making event and a preliminary move toward resolving the 50-year long antagonism that has cut the society of Koreans residing in Japan in half.

This meeting was reportedly made possible by Mindan’s acceptance of two out of the three conditions suggested by Chongryon for the scheduled talk.

The three conditions are: giving up Mindan’s demand for local suffrage to promote the naturalization of Koreans in Japan, dissolving its North Korean refugees support center, and stopping its homeland visit business.

Mindan reportedly accepted the other two conditions except the first one.

Young-A Soh sya@donga.com