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Gov’t deletes ‘pro-Japanese’ from Gen. Paik's cemetery description

Gov’t deletes ‘pro-Japanese’ from Gen. Paik's cemetery description

Posted July. 25, 2023 08:04,   

Updated July. 25, 2023 08:04


On Monday, the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs of South Korea removed the phrase ‘pro-Japanese collaborator’ from the Daejeon National Cemetery’s description of Gen. Paik Sun-yup, who was a hero in the Korean War and a symbolic figure of the alliance between South Korea and the U.S.

The description was added on the day after Gen. Paik’s burial on July 15, 2020 as the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs decided to add information about pro-Japanese generals buried at national cemeteries in March 2019 during the Moon Jae-in administration. Some members of the then-ruling party (Democratic Party of Korea) called for relocating the graves of pro-Japanese figures buried at national cemeteries, which caused controversy.

The Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs explained that the decision to remove the description came about as adding a phrase irrelevant to their achievements, which qualified them to be buried at national cemeteries, without legal grounds does not suit the purpose of establishing the cemeteries. The selective addition of certain facts about certain figures when such irrelevant information, including criminal records, about others is omitted is suspected of having the intention to dishonor Gen. Paik and disregards fairness between those buried at national cemeteries.

The ministry also added that according to its own research the procedural lawfulness was not secured as the opinions of Paik’s family members were not heard and careful legal review was not conducted even though it could defame the family members’ reputation.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com