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  • 2017.04.30 Sunday
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一定期間更新がないため広告を表示しています


South Korea’s Dilemma

 

 Since South Korea decided to deploy THAAD in February, China has been economically punishing South Korea. The South Korean economy has been devastated.   

                                                           

 During March, the sales of Hundai cars in China decreased by 44.3%, and those of Kia decreased by 66.8% compared to the same month in the previous year.   

                                                           

 In contrast, Japanese cars sold well. The sales of Toyotas in China more than doubled (an increase of 116%), Honda sales increased by 31.6%, and Nissan sales increased by 12.4%.   

                                                           

 On March 15th, the Chinese government prohibited its travel agencies  from selling package tours for South Korea. Chinese tourists accounted for over 70% of the sales of foreign tourists in South Korea. If this situation continues, the South Korean tourism industry will be destroyed.   

                                                           

 China became the second largest economy, and has been effectively exercising its economic power. Different from Japan, South Korea has no ability to respond to aggressive Chinese tactics.   

                                                           

 In 2010, after a Chinese fishing boat was detained by the Japan’s Coast Guard vessel in the vicinity of the Senkaku islands, China imposed restrictions on the export of rare earth metals. At the time, Japan imported 99% of rare earth metals from China. The prices of the metals soared, and those companies in China temporarily prospered. However, Japanese companies diversified their suppliers, and developed alternative technologies to use smaller quantities of rare earth or even eliminate the need for rare earth metals in key sections completely. The prices of rare earth plummeted, and the majority of the Chinese rare earth companies went bankrupt or halted operations. The market is unlikely to recover any more.   

                                                           

 In 2012, after the Noda Cabinet nationalized the Senkaku islands, radical anti-Japanese riots occurred in China. Many Japanese companies were vandalized, and Japanese department stores such as Heiwado were looted. The Chinese government declared that it wouldn’t compensate Japanese companies for the damages. However, not only Japanese companies but also American and European corporations become aware of the risks of doing business in China, and started to consider withdrawing from China. In order to prevent Japanese companies from withdrawing, local governments offered corporate-tax exemptions instead of compensation. Obviously, acquiring new investment became difficult.   

                                                           

 Until South Korea prevents the deployment of THAAD, China will continue to economically punish South Korea. And, if South Korea nullifies the THAAD program, the U.S. might abandon South Korea. Its presidential election will take place on May 9th. The ball is in South Korea.   

 


Calling Their Bluffs:Donald trump

 

 On April 6th, the U.S. launched a military strike against the Asad regime. Different from Barack Obama, Donald Trump is resolute and decisive. The next target will be North Korea. Kim Jong-un must be trembling now.   

                                                           

 On the 4th, at least 80 people were killed by an attack in a province controlled by an alliance of rebel groups in northern Syria. Autopsy results have reportedly revealed that chemical weapons were used in the attack in violation of international law. President Trump ordered measured Tomahawk missile strikes on a Syrian airbase in response to the chemical weapons massacre.   

                                                           

 During the 4th Middle East War in 1973, North Korea sent troops to Syria. Since then, the two nations have strengthened their military relationship. North Korea has sold missiles and other weapons to Syria. In 2007, Israel conducted a surprise attack on nuclear facilities in northern Syria which were reportedly constructed with North Korean assistance for the purpose of obtaining material to a nuclear bomb.   

                                                           

 North Korea has repeatedly launched missiles to demonstrate its military capability. However, it is unlikely to be a deterrent to the Trump administration. On the contrary, such provocation will infuriate Donald Trump.   

                                                           

 Secretary of State Rex Tillerson commented, “North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile. The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment.” And, President Trump declared that he would be willing to go it alone to restrain North Korea’s nuclear weapons program should China fail to alleviate the situation.  

                                                           

 The Abe cabinet re-stationed its ambassador to South Korea after having been called back in January over “Comfort Women” statue. Ambassador Yasumasa Nagamine already met with Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, on how to cope with North Korea. There are around 20,000 Japanese citizens in South Korea. I am happy Prime Minister Abe has established a firm relationship with President Trump.  

                                                           

 I don't believe that the abducted Japanese will be brought home until North Korea collapses. I believe the same is true for other abductees from foreign countries. The U.S.’s Tomahawks can strike targets with pinpoint accuracy using advanced guidance system. I hope that the abductees won’t be injured and all of them will be returned to their homelands.

 

 


トンデモ歴史教科書 ― 麻布・慶應・灘が採用

シべリア抑留を書かない!?  

                                    

 教科書問題に詳しい知人から「シべリア抑留を書いていない歴史教科書がある」と聞いて「まさか」と思った。定説では六十万人もの目本人が強制連行され、六万人以上もの人が犠牲になった重大事件である。犠牲者数では広島・長崎、東京大空襲に次ぐ規模の戦争犯罪ではないか。  

                                                           

 筆者の父親も六年ほどシべリアで強制労働に従事させられ、幸運にも何とか生き残って帰国できた。二十五年ほど前、筆者が欧州に向かう飛行機から初めてシぺリアを見た時には、地平線まで続く真っ白な大雪原に、うねうねと蛇行する凍結した大河が陽の光を反射して鈍く光っており、「親父はこんな所で六年も生き延びたのか」と胸の詰まる思いがした。  

                                                           

祖母によれば、戦後何年も経つて、もうシべリアで死んだものと諦めていたそうだ。何とか生き残って帰れた人々はまだ良いが、遂に帰れなかった抑留者が六万人以上もいた。そうした人々の遺族が、自分たちの悲劇を無視している歴史教科書があると知ったら、どのような思いをされるだろうか。  

                                                           

 気になって、各社の中学歴史教科書がシべリア抑留についてどう記述しているのか、比較してみたのが次頁の表1(本稿では割愛、『歴史通』をご覧ください)である。シべリア抑留を書いていないのは学び舎だけで、他社はすべて一応の記述がなされているので、やや安心した。  

                                                           

 この特異な教科書に関しては、「WiLL」二〇一六年六月号に水間政憲氏が「エリート校麻布・慶應・灘が採用したトンデモ歴史教科書」と題して論評している。水間氏が「その内容たるや、日本罪悪史観に満ちた東京書籍や教育出版等の歴史教科書が普通の教科書に思えてくるほどです」と言われるのも、表1を見れば領ける。  

                                                           

 この教科書でどんなトンデモ記述があるかを一点だけ紹介しておくと、終戦後の「帰れなぃ人々」と題した項目で、以下のように書く。

                                                           

__________                                                 

 一方、日本にいた朝鮮人は、帰国しようといっせいに博多(福岡県)や下関(山ロ県)などの港につめかけました。植民地支配によって生活が苦しくなり、朝鮮から日本に渡ってきた人たちや、炭鉱などに強制連行されてきたりした人たちです。しかし、日本側の船の手配はすすまず、港は人びとであふれました。

 ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄                                                 

                                                           

「朝鮮から日本に渡つてきた人たち」とは、内地での日本人並みの給料を求めて出稼ぎにきた人々である。「炭鉱などに強制連行されてきたりした人たち」とは、朝鮮人で徴用(国民に対する勤労動員であって、強制連行ではない)された者で、外務省は二百四十五名と公表している。  

                                                           

日本人六十万人の強制連行は點殺しておいて、こういう人々で「港は人びとであふれました」と、さも大事件のように描くのは確信犯的なダブル・スタンダードだ。この教科書とそれを採択した左巻き教師の洗脳からわが子を護りたかったら、本編で紹介する普通の教科書の中から、これはと思うものを選び、セカンド・オピニオンとしてあてがうことをお勧めしたい。  

                                                           

(以下、続く。『歴史通』4月号をご覧下さい)                                      

                                                           

__________                                                 

(伊勢雅臣)ワック社の『歴史通』4月号に、拙論「『自虐史観』歴史教科書は『シベリア強制連行』を黙殺!」が掲載されています。その冒頭の一節を転載させていただきます。全文は同誌をご覧下さい。「シベリア強制連行」に関して、中学歴史教科書をすべて比較評価してみると、驚くべき違いがありました。  

                                                           

■■■ JOG Wing ■■■  国際派日本人の情報ファイル  ■■■                                  

                                                           

  『歴史通』4月号掲載論文:「自虐史観」歴史教科書は「シベリア強制連行を黙殺!」                   

                                                                    伊勢雅臣                    

■■ 転送歓迎 ■■ No.2664 ■■ H29.03.31 ■■ 8,172■■                                   

                                                           

JOG Wing 国際派日本人のための情報ファイル のバックナンバー                             

http://archives.mag2.com/0000013290/index.html?l=fnp0a10873

 


Clinton’s Blunder, Trump’s Remedy

 

 President Donald Trump has been criticized not only in the U.S. but also globally. However, if you read “Crouching TigerWhat China’s Militarism Means for the World” written by Peter Navarro, you will understand his trade policy, at least toward China.  

                                                           

 Although former President Bill Clinton did help bring the U.S. out of recessions and spurred the American economy in the short term, in reality, he is to blame for having devastated the U.S. in the long term, and fostered the Chinese regime to become a military threat to Asia.  

                                                           

 Then-President Clinton helped nominate China to become a full member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, giving up the U.S.’s leverage of “most favored nation trade status”. And, during 2002, China’s trade increased by 22%. China’s economic development itself was very good, especially for Chinese citizens. And, China has grown into a significant economy, which has helped fuel the global economy at large.  

                                                           

 However, Clinton’s supporters started to relocate their production to China. As a result, as many as 70,000 factories were closed in the U.S. The number of unemployed and underemployed workers numbered more than 25 million. The U.S.’s trade deficit surged to yearly 300 billion dollars.  

                                                           

 At first, the world expected China to follow global rules, and that more prosperous China would develop into a peaceful democratic nation. As you can see now, it was an illusion. On the contrary, China developed into a military menace with economic power.  

                                                           

 Boeing, Caterpillar, General Electric, General Motors, etc. offered dual-use technologies to China in exchange for business licenses in China. Such technologies were diverted to improve the Chinese military. French, British and German corporations also exported military products to China under the guise of commercial use. Now, Chinese submarines and frigates are equipped with German diesel engines.  

                                                           

 In the 1990s during the Clinton administration, China stole American missile secrets. China already has intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that can reach the U.S. Lenin said, “The Capitalists will sell us the rope which we will hang them.”  

                                                           

 The Japanese government is also to blame for its Official Development Assistance (ODA) of 3.655 trillion yen (about 33 billion USD) to China since 1979. Such generous assistance must have contributed to China’s military expansion. 

                                                           

 Peter Navarro insists on decreasing dependence on Chinese products in order to decelerate China’s military expansion. Meanwhile, the U.S. and its allies can revive economic growth and increase their relative power.  

                                                           

 The most important alliance is the one between the U.S. and Japan. Therefore, President Trump heartily welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. And, the Abe Cabinet steadily takes steps to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance, such as establishing a system to detain suspected terrorists before they have an opportunity to carry out an attack. 

                                                           

 I hope that the Trump-Abe alliance will deter China from encroaching into the East and South China Seas, and guarantee the free navigation there.  

 


Spring has come to Japan

 

 The world is on the edge. In particular, North Korea might launch nuclear-tipped missiles at any time. On the other hand, Japan is internally enjoying a hopeful spring. I do appreciate the Abe Cabinet.   

                                                           

 In Japan, students enter schools in April, and graduate in March. 90.6% of collage graduates have landed a job as of the end of January. This is the highest rate since 2000. The rate dropped to 77.4% in 2011, but has consecutively improved for 6 years. Also, 94.0% of high-school graduates have landed a job. The rate has improved for 7 consecutive years. Some industries and many small and mid-sized companies are suffering from labor shortages. The Japanese economy has completely recovered from the recession triggered by the Lehman Shock.   

                                                           

 Japan’s national Police Agency released on the 16th that the number of yakuza members has shrunk to about 18,100 as of the end of the last year, a decrease of some 2,000 from the previous year. This is the smallest number since 1958 when the statistics were launched. Because the Abe Cabinet legally squeezed yakuza syndicates, they became unable to earn enough money to continue their operations. Also, companies and private sectors can now take a square stance toward them in accordance with the law. In terms of the crime rate, Japan is the safest nation in the world. I believe that Japan’s public safety will improve further.   

                                                           

 In South Korea, the presidential election will probably take place on May 9th. Its most promising candidate Moon Jae-in insists on nullifying the 2015 agreement on comfort women in which Japan’s government consented to compensate South Korean victims whereas South Korea agreed to demand no more compensation after the treaty. However, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Japan and held a press conference on the 16th, stating, “We encourage both sides to approach that agreement in honest, and sincere efforts to bring this to a conclusion.” Japan has already fulfilled its duty. Whoever becomes the next South Korean president, he will have to honor the agreement.

                                                           

 Last month, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis visited Japan and articulated, “ the Senkaku islands are administered by Japan and therefore fall with the scope of Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty.” This month, Mr. Tillerson also reaffirmed that the islands are covered by article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, which obliges the United States to defend Japanese territories. With the support from the U.S., China won’t be able to invade the Senkaku Islands.   

                                                           

 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has set up a firm relationship with the Trump administration. It’s a sad reality that Japan cannot safeguard its citizens and territory by itself. Mr. Abe realizes the fact and hence he is trying to rebuild Japan as a real “independent” nation. I will continue to support the Abe Cabinet.                          


A Road to Hell:South Korea

 

 On March 9th, South Korea’s Constitutional Court unanimously ruled to strip impeached President Park Geun-hye of power. The nation slipped into a political whirlwind. The political apparatus is in haste arranging the coming presidential election which must occur within 60 days. In recent years, South Koreans have given their nation the moniker of “Hell Choson” (Hell Korea). In fact, South Korea is on the way to hell.   

                                                           

 Disgraced President Park had taken a hostile position against Japan. Consequently, South Korea couldn’t ask Japan to continue the Japan-South Korea currency swap agreement. The agreement was discontinued in 2015. In addition, in protest of the comfort woman statute in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, Japan recalled its ambassador. Currently, there is no hope for South Korea to resume a currency swap with Japan.   

                                                           

 On March 6th, North Korea launched 4 ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, allegedly in preparation for an attack to U.S. bases in Japan. The following day, the U.S. began to deploy its state-of the art antimissile system, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in South Korea.   

                                                           

 After South Korea decided to deploy THAAD, to which China has strongly been opposed over concerns related to its own missile capability, China started to impose various sanctions against South Korea. Especially, LOTTE, a conglomerate, was completely excluded from the Chinese market because it gave up its golf course in a land swap to facilitate the deployment of THAAD. The Chinese government ordered its travel agencies to pull tours to South Korea. Chinese tourists account for nearly half of all tourists traveling to South Korea (8.0 million out of 17.2 million). The South Korean tourist industry will be devastated. And, a currency swap agreement with China will expire this October unless China agrees to extend it.   

                                                           

 The largest peril is the coming presidential election. According to a survey conducted by Gallup Korea, the most popular candidate is Moon Jae-in (32%), who is friendly to North Korea, followed by Ahn Hee-jung (17%), Hwang Kyo-ahn (9%), Ahn Cheol-seo (9%), and Lee Jae-myung (8%). The only conservative is Hwang Kyo-ahn.   

                                                           

 Specifically, Moon Jae-in insists on nullifying the agreement on comfort women issue with Japan and the deployment of THAAD missiles with the U.S. If he becomes the next South Korean president, not only will relations with Japan and the U.S. worsen but also he wants the U.S. to remove the THAAD missile system from South Korea. In that case, the U.S. might be justified in deserting South Korea and withdrawing its forces. Without support from the U.S., North Korea can invade South Korea as it did in 1950. History might repeat itself.   

                                                           

 Most South Korans are now pleased with the ousting of Park Geun-hye. She said before, “There is no future for a people who don’t come to terms with their history.”  

 


Cornered North Korea

 

 North Korea has formal relationships with Southeast Asian countries. Over the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, however, North Korea is becoming isolated. China, its patron, is also criticizing the unruly nation. If North Korea collapses, it will be a nightmare for South Korea.   

                                                           

 North Korea has official diplomatic relations with 10 countries in Southeast Asia. Where border control is loose, North Korea abuses these relationships by circulating drugs and counterfeit bills.   

                                                           

 On February 13th, Kim Jong-nam was blatantly assassinated at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, which is the sole country that North Koreans can visit without visas. North Korea is insisting that it had nothing to do with the murder and criticized Malaysia. Malaysia has taken a hard stance against North Korea and is considering breaking off diplomatic relations.  

                                                           

 One of the 2 perpetrators was an Indonesian woman. Indonesia has historically had a good relationship with North Korea. The Indonesian woman claimed that she tricked by a North Korean agent posing a Japanese man for a Japanese TV show who asked her to “surprise” Kim Jong-nam as a “joke.” Indonesians felt sorry for her and the national sentiment in Indonesia has turned sour toward North Korea.   

                                                           

 For China, North Korea is just a buffer against U.S. forces. Hence, China has yearly offered a half million tons of petroleum products and grain each for free to support North Korea. However, China will never permit North Korea to own nuclear-tipped missiles that can attack Beijing or Shanghai. If China stops offering oil products to North Korea, the nation will instantly collapse. On the 18th, China announced that it would suspend the import of coal from North Korea until the end of this year. And, on the 23rd, a press secretary for the Chinese Defense Ministry commented that they were ready to deal with the collapse of North Korea.  

                                                           

 Economically, North Korea is an insignificant nation. Its demise will take hardly any toll on the global economy. And, it would be great for Japan because I believe that the abducted Japanese won’t be released until North Korea collapses. However, hordes of North Korean refugees will flood into China and South Korea.             

                                                           

 Different from Germany, the unification of South and North Korea is impossible. When Germany united, West Germany’s population was 64 million whereas East Germany’s was only 16 million. 4 West Germans had to support 1 East German. In terms of per capita GDP, the East was said to be about a half of the West’s On the other hand, South Korea’s population is 50 million whereas North Korea’s is 23 million. So, 2 South Koreans have to carry the burden of nearly 1 North Korean. In addition, South Korea’ per capita GDP is 28,200 U.S. dollar whereas North Korea’s is only 854 USD, which equals barely 3 % of the South’s. To make matters worse, South Korea is suffering from a serious economic recession and political turmoil.   

                                                           

 Some analysts claimed that China had been sheltering Kim Jong-nam as a drop-in North Korean leader after a coup d’etat occurs in the uncontrollable nation. China had historically ruled the Korean Peninsula for over 1,000 years. They are well aware how to deal with Koreans.   

                                                           

 The United Nations should form a consensus that, when North Korea collapses, it will be placed under the temporary trusteeship of China. Then, China can retain the area as a buffer zone. At least, currently oppressed North Koreans would live better lives under the Chinese regime. I believe that Japan should also give them humanitarian support after the abducted Japanese are repatriated.   

                                    

 


Catch 22:Donald Trump

 

 President Donald Trump has been criticizing China for its currency manipulation. However, China is currently interfering with the foreign exchange market not to depreciate the renminbi to fuel exports but to appreciate the renminbi’s value. And, Donald Trump might have to yield to China as the former Obama administration did.   

                                                           

 China’ s renminbi has been weakening since August 2015 due to the deceleration of the Chinese economy. Since then, U.S. dollar-based insurance in Hong Kong has caught on among Chinese who worry about the stability of the renminbi. Chinese are now buying up real estate in Western countries and Japan, artwork, premium wines, etc., converting Chinese yuan to valuable items.    

                                                           

 In order to curb the outflow of the renminbi, the Chinese government only allows Chinese citizens to hold 50,000 U.S. dollars per person. Nonetheless, the outflow has not decelerated. Despite China’s foreign exchange intervention, the exchange rate of the renminbi to the U.S. dollar has depreciated by 6.6% during 2016, the largest loss since 1994. And, China’s foreign currency reserves plummeted from 4 trillion dollars in June 2014 to 3 trillion dollars as the end of January this year, a plunge of 1 trillion dollars in a little over 2 and half years.   

                                                           

 If China stops intervening in the currency exchange markets, the renmnbi will weaken further, which will fuel China’s exports.   

                                                           

 If China continues to sell U.S. bonds to intervene in the currency exchange market, the prices of American bonds will decrease and interest rates will rise in the U.S. Then, investment money will flood into the U.S. and the U.S. dollar will strengthen, which hinder American exports.   

                                                           

 President Trump plans large-scale infrastructure investment and tax cuts. In order to implement his policies, the U.S. has to issue a large number of U.S. bonds. Who will buy those bonds?  

                                                           

 After the Lehman Shock in 2009, the Obama Cabinet issued national bonds to implement a large-scale stimulus package. Then-Treasury Secretary Geitner visited China and asked then-President Hu Jintao to continue to purchase U.S. bonds, ignoring China’s currency manipulation.   

                                                           

 As of the end of last year, China owned 1.058 trillion dollars of U.S. bonds following Japan at 1.098 trillion dollars. Without Japan and China, the U.S. cannot sustain its finances. In fact, the U.S. was on the verge of default in October 2013. China has been utilizing its economic power as an economic weapon against the U.S.  

                                                           

 It is well known that Japan depends on the U.S. in terms of defense. On the other hand, the U.S. depends on Japan financially. The Abe Cabinet should consider whether or not it should continue to purchase U.S. bonds.   

                                    

 


U.S. Troops from Okinawa to Taiwan

 

 On January 17th, John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, wrote a contributing article in The Wall Street Journal arguing that the U.S. troops could move its troops stationed in Okinawa to Taiwan as a response to protests in Japan and to Chinese “belligerence.” I’m all for his idea. I hope that the U.S. forces deployed in Okinawa will not be partially but rather completely relocated to Taiwan.   

                                   

 There have been protests against U.S. forces in Okinawa, by local Okinawans, left-leaning Japanese citizens, and resident-Koreans and Chinese. It’s a fact that the marines frequently commit atrocious crimes such as rape. However, I believe that the majority of the protestors are pro-Chinese and acting in sympathy with China. Unfortunately for them, the move to Taiwan would be pressure to China.   

                                   

 On the other hand, most Okinawans are aware of the need of the U.S. forces. Fishermen often have to refrain from going fishing in the vicinity of the Senkaku Islands because Chinese vessels encroach on Japanese territory. Many Okinawans are employed at U.S. bases. The landowners can earn rent because the U.S. bases are stationed on their land. And, the local governments can acquire subsidies from the Japanese government because U.S. troops are deployed in Okinawa. In reality, many of them “protest” against U.S. forces as a negotiation tactic to receive more support from the Japanese government.   

                                                           

 The Japanese government offers Okinawa subsidies (in reality, a slush-fund) of over 300 billion yen (around 3 billion USD). In addition, Japan indirectly contributes to salaries of the Okinawans employed in the U.S. bases even though they are not required to do so in accordance with the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.   

                                                           

 If the U.S. forces are completely relocated to Taiwan, Japan can save a lot of money. There would be no more marines in Okinawa who commit crimes. Okinawa residents won’t be bothered by the fighter jets any more. The landowners will get back their land but won’t earn rent. The Okinawan employees at the U.S. bases will be fired. And, the local governments wouldn’t be offered hefty amounts of subsidies any more.   

                                                           

 On February 3rd, the new Defense Secretary James Mattis met Prime Minister Abe in Tokyo, and confirmed that the Senkaku Islands fall under Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. Even if U.S. forces completely move to Taiwan, I believe that Japan should shoulder some of the financial burden of deploying U.S. troops in Taiwan. The U.S. forces are required as a deterrent to Chinese aggression not only for the Senkaku Islands but also the peaceful navigation in the South China Sea.   

                                                           

 Moreover, Japan should split the relocation costs to Taiwan. The move from Okinawa is very beneficial for Japan. As a taxpayer, I hope that the U.S. troops will completely be relocated from Okinawa to Taiwan as soon as possible.   


A Prosperous Japan vs. A Declining South Korea

 

 The Japanese economy is prospering. As a result, the Abe Cabinet remains popular. On the other hand, the South Korean economy is in recession. In addition, President Park Geun-hye has been impeached and effectively removed from office. South Korea is now on the verge of economic collapse.   

                                                           

 After the Lehman Shock, the Japanese yen appreciated, which devastated the Japanese economy. Many workers were laid off, and new graduates faced a tremendous difficulty finding a job. However, since Shinzo Abe was inaugurated as prime minister, the strong yen moderated, and the Japanese economy has recovered moderately.   

                                                           

 Currently, Japan’s employment situation is so good that some industries suffer from labor shortages. Graduates can now easily land a job. Last spring, the employment rate for collage graduates marked its highest ever percentage of 97.3%. As of December 1st, 85% of students graduating this March received tentative job offer, which is higher than the previous year. Similarly, 87% of high-school graduates seeking a work after graduation received tentative job offer, which also surpasses the previous year. This spring, the employment rate of both collage and high-school graduates will surpass last year’s number.   

                                                           

 On the other hand, in South Korea, the employment situation is the worst it has ever been. The South Korean government announced on January 11th that the number of its unemployment was 1,012,000 and the unemployment rate under 30 years old hit a record high of 9.8%. However, the Yonhap News reported on January 23rd that the number of real unemployed was 4,538,000, which equals nearly 4.5 times that of the official statistic.   

                                                           

 The South Korean economy is greatly dependent on China. Since South Korea agreed to deploy THAAD, to which China was strongly opposed, China started impose sanctions against South Korea, expelling South Korean products and limiting travel to South Korea. Chinese accounted for nearly half (47%) of the tourists in South Korea, but a plummeting number of Chinese tourists visit there now. The Chinese New Year started from January 27th, and during the 7 days off, over 6 million Chinese are expected to ravel abroad. As, a destination, however, South Korea is ranked 7th, dropping from 3rd last year, whereas Japan is ranked 2nd, next to Thailand.   

                                                           

 President Park took an aggressive stance toward Japan, and the currency swap agreement with Japan discontinued February 2015. And, the currency swap with China might expire in coming October if China refuses to extend it. Without the currency swaps, there is a reasonable probability that Korean won will crash and South Korean will go into default again.   

                                                           

 Most Japanese and other citizens of developed countries didn’t care that  South Korea went into default in 1997 because it had hardly any implications on the global economy. I believe that the Abe Cabinet should maintain a resolute position toward South Korea and let Korans reap what they sow.   

 


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