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Japanese Reporter Allowed to Enter Korea After 36 Years

Posted January. 29, 2010 05:57,   


A small party was held at a tavern Wednesday behind the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Seoul. The host was Masaki Tachikawa, a former reporter for the Japanese newspaper Nikkan Gendai.

Earlier in the day, he was acquitted by a Seoul court on charges of instigating a civil strife related to his involvement in a 1974 spy case in a re-trial 36 years after his conviction.

Drinking with Japanese journalists and Korean friends, he said he saw the past 36 years slowly flowing like an old black-and-white film.

“I still can’t feel it. I can’t believe it’s been 36 years,” he said.

In an interview with The Dong-A Ilbo in Seoul yesterday, Tachikawa said his fate was changed after he gave former Korean lawmaker Yoo Ihn-tae, then a Seoul National University student activist wanted by authorities, a small sum of money out of sympathy.

The Japanese reporter gave Yoo the money after hearing he was living on instant noodles and had no place to stay.

Korean authorities said the small amount Yoo took from Tachikawa was a “revolutionary fund” from North Korea. The Japanese reporter was arrested and tried for instigating civil strife and violating a presidential decree on national security.

He was later deported to Japan after serving 10 months of his 20-year prison terms, and banned from entering Korea for 10 years.

Tachikawa, however, visited Korea three to four times a year after the Korean government lifted his entry ban in the mid-1980s.

He said people around him kept asking him why he still cares for Korea despite what he went through. He answered by saying he still wants to visit Korea to report on the country’s democratization process.