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Tokyo urges revisiting N. Korea leaflets prohibition law

Tokyo urges revisiting N. Korea leaflets prohibition law

Posted December. 22, 2020 07:33,   

Updated December. 22, 2020 07:33


Following the United Nations and the U.S., the U.K., Japan has weighed in denouncing the passing of the North Korea Leaflet Prohibition Act, which was railroaded by the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, intensifying the call of the international community to revisit the enforcement of the controversial law. But concerns are fueling that the South Korean ruling party is risking international isolation with Lee Nak-yeon, the ruling party’s favorite for the next presidential election in South Korea, squarely refuting the denouncement. It is expected President Moon Jae-in will likely approve the law in question as early as in a Tuesday cabinet meeting.

In an editorial titled “The need to keep consistency of principles of freedom” published Monday, the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun argued that Seoul must reconsider the measure that is to succumb to an unreasonable demand from North Korea and put restrictions on civil rights. “President Moon is pressing ahead with a highly divisive bill against the backdrop of an overwhelming majority seats in the National Assembly,” the editorial said, adding the bill contains content that can infringe upon the freedom of citizens and principles of liberal democracy. In a letter sent to British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, David Alton, a member of the House of Lords, called Seoul’s ban on leaflets-sending to the North a “gag law.”

“About the revised law banning the dissemination of leaflets to the North, some argue the revision violates freedom of expression‎ and leads to the regression of human rights in North Korea,” said Lee Nak-yeon, the chairman of the Democratic Party, during a supreme council on Monday, adding there are misunderstandings and distortions derived from the wrong information. Lee said he finds it “regrettable” some members of the U.S. Congress are making the call to revisit the law in question.

Ji-Sun Choi aurinko@donga.com