Wednesday, November 30, 2005

April 28, 1975 archives: Eastern "Modifications" to Democracy

This piece is thirty years old, from back before President Park's assassination, but the first sentence should sound familiar to anyone who read up on Singapore during the 1990s (and during the Zeroes, too). This story will give some idea why some people in Korea, and not just the chinbo "progressives" who bash anything associated with the Korean conservatives, the U.S., Japan, or capitalism, have very mixed feelings about Park's legacy: yes, he is responsible for putting Korea down the road to fruition, but he ran over a lot of people along the way.

[Related note to those who follow the Japan apologist line that Japan is responsible for Korea's post-war growth: If your belief holds water, why did Korea's economy not take off until after Park took over and instituted his economic plan? If Japan had installed and left the proper infrastructure and capital and instilled an entrepreneurial mindset, why didn't the economic climb start while President Syngman Rhee was in power, a period that lasted until some years after the Korean War had ended?]

There are some quotes in this piece that are amazingly timely for today. Then opposition leader Kim Youngsam, who would later become president for the post-military era conservatives, says, "Essentially, President Park's claim of an imminent military threat from the North is a subterfuge for ensuring the longevity of his regime." [Note also that under Park there was a law that forbids "slanderous or libelous remarks against the state" to foreign media.] In Kim's remark you can see a glimmer of what the problem is today: many in Korea's far left have long believed that the threat from the North has been engineered in order to justify the right from maintaining tight control.

Moreover, this should underscore why so many people in Korea are willing to entertain "Sunshine Policy" in an attempt to try something different: they suffer from threat fatigue. It was certainly true in 1975 and it's true today: most South Koreans had lived most or all of their lives with the idea that the North could swoop down and kill them at any minute (ditto for the Taiwanese from Mainland China). In contrast, the Japanese and the Americans have had no similar threat since the Cold War supposedly ended.

Is it any wonder that the Taiwanese and the South Koreans seek to remove or mitigate this threat by reaching out to the one pointing a knife at them? Standing there in a bold stance, showing that your ready to fight, has kept the two ROs (as in Republic of Korea and Republic of China, in contrast with their People's Republic of counterparts) safe, but it hasn't abated the threat. Perhaps alleviating the threat by ameliorating relations would help. And that's where we are today. It would be foolish for military benefactors in Washington to assume that Seoul or Taipei are no longer "on our side."

Anyway, on with our story...

South Korea's President Park Chung Hee has long maintained that Western-style democracy could only work in South Korea with certain Eastern "modifications." In recent weeks Park has given a graphic demonstration of what he means. After a brief period of relaxation during which some 148 political prisoners were released, repression has returned with a vengeance.

The crackdown began with the public hanging two weeks ago of eight South Koreans convicted of being Communists. Last year a military court sentenced the men to death for having conspired to overthrow the government by encouraging anti-Park demonstrations. Early this month the supreme court upheld the sentences; less than 24 hours later the men were executed.

At the same time, Park bore down on the chief centers of resistance to his government: the churches and universities. Three of Seoul's best-known Protestant ministers were arrested on vague charges of "misusing" some monetary contributions from West Germany. (Seven U.S. missionaries who donned hoods and nooses to protest the hangings were questioned by officials but later released.) Two dozen colleges and universities in and around Seoul were closed, and more than 200 students were arrested for urging Park's downfall. One student committed suicide by disemboweling himself on the campus of Seoul National University. He left behind a note to the President: "Do not mistake the silence of the masses as support for your regime."

The latest repressive measures reflect new elements of uncertainty within the Park government. South Korea was genuinely shocked that the U.S. did not intervene to prevent the collapse of South Viet Nam and Cambodia. Even though the U.S. still maintains 40,000 troops and keeps tactical nuclear weapons in the country for defense against a possible invasion, there is concern over the strength of the American commitment. Moreover, since 1971 the U.S. has given only $792 million of a promised $1.5 billion for modernizing Seoul's armed forces.

Beyond that there have been some unsettling encounters with the often jingoistic, saber-rattling North. Last month firefights broke out when two flotillas of North Korean patrol boats ventured along the South's coastline. Then, adding credence to the South Korean claim that the North's President Kim II Sung is bent on aggression, two tunnels, apparently intended for use by North Korean guerrillas, were discovered in the southern half of the demilitarized zone that separates the two countries. Last week Park warned anew of an invasion by the North's 480,000-man army (the South's army totals 600,000) pointing out that Kim II Sung was about to fly to Peking, where he is expected to ask for arms aid.

Acute Shortages.

To dissidents in the South, Park's warnings are only an excuse to repress political activity. Said Kim Young Sam, 48, leader of the opposition Democratic Party: "Essentially, President Park's claim of an imminent military threat from the North is a subterfuge for ensuring the longevity of his regime." Kim Young Sam's judgment could land him a seven-year prison sentence under a law that forbids "slanderous or libelous remarks against the state" to foreign media. Yet many members of the Seoul establishment privately agree with him.

U.S. analysts also tend to minimize the likelihood of a North Korean military adventure. President Kim's economic policy has suffered from acute shortages of foreign currency. Furthermore, China, which would have to aid Kim in any invasion of the South, clearly does not want a costly war. It would not only tax the Chinese economy but would give the hated Soviets a chance to increase their influence in East Asia.

These arguments are clearly lost on Park, even though he is well aware that exactly 15 years ago last week massive student protests forced the overthrow of the dictatorial Syngman Rhee. Park might well strengthen his position by permitting some political liberalization. Most of the country's dissidents are strongly anti-Communist and ready to fight off a North Korean invasion. Sadly, members of Park's ruling Democratic Republican Party last week began debating still another addition to the country's internal security system: a new law that would impose stiff penalties on "ideological criminals."

Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, Epsilon: Greek storms

Downed power lines on Tenerife Island in the Canarys, caused by Tropical Storm Delta, which killed seven people there.

NOTE: An update to Epsilon, which reached hurricane status on December 2, is found here.

Today, November 30, is the official close of 2005's record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season. And it's ending with
a bang, as Tropical Storm Epsilon heads toward Bermuda with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (80 kph). No Hurricane Katrina or Rita, mind you, but enough to do some damage.

Epsilon? We've not only gotten into the Greek alphabet with Tropical Storm Alpha, but we ventured into Greek letters many English speakers aren't even aware of (I'm guessing Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Omega, and possibly Sigma are most commonly known; people in fraternities might know others).

There have been twenty-six "named storms" (which includes not just hurricanes but serious tropical storms that can themselves become devastating cyclones), shattering the previous record of twenty-one.

Of the five "Greek storms," only one of them, Beta, reached the catastrophic level of hurricane. Nevertheless, the other four Greek storms killed over fifty people and caused a lot of damage.

Honduras in particular has been hard hit by Hurricanes Stan (which killed 2000 people in Central America), Katrina, Wilma and Beta, and now Tropical Storm Gamma, which has claimed thirty-two lives.

Residents in Honduras crosses a bridge that collapsed due to Tropical Storm Gamma.

Tropical storm Alpha, which broke the previous record of twenty-one "named storms," killed fifteen people in Haiti. Tropical Storm Delta, which recently headed toward the Canary Islands in the East Atlantic, killed seven people.

I recently talked with one defender of Bush trying to downplay this hurricane season's severity by suggesting that the National Hurricane Center was exaggerating the intensity of this storm season by giving names "even to tropical storms" as a way to attack Bush (why would people who love Bush need to impugn scientists just doing their job?) . In fact, this is normal practice even in "light" storm seasons: the twenty-six means twice as many storms as a season with only thirteen, because they're based on the same criteria.

A pax on all your houses!

[Note: This post was originally intended to be a comment at Marmot's Hole about Korean being a welfare queen, especially when Marmot called into question the need for the Pax Americana to continue. I did post it at Marmot's, but decided to put it up on my own blog here, with some modifications.]

The Marmot wrote:
As for Pax Americana, yes, it did keep everyone reasonably well behaved in the region during the Cold War, but I don't see why the US need play the same role now.

This is one of the problems of the Pax America: it's very success leads people to believe it's not needed. It still does keep everyone reasonably well-behaved. And too little has changed to realistically expect that that good behavior would continue of the U.S. were not playing sheriff.

I know it may sound unpopular to tout the United States' role as the world's policeman, but the fact is that there is no one else to play that utterly necessary role. To paraphrase actor Troy McClure (a character in
The Simpsons voiced by the late Phil Hartman) when he was told he'd gotten the part of The Human in a theatrical version of "Planet of the Apes": It's the part we were born to play, baby!

No other country has the combination of the power, the willingness to use that power where appropriate, PLUS the commitment to democracy, economic growth, and human rights that the United States has. No one.

A very distant second would be the United Nations, which is too mired in its own bureaucracy to play anything beyond being a peacekeeper where peace has already been established. It serves no deterrent threat in the way that the United States does. The US-led war in Iraq may be unpopular around the world, but the fact remains that there is no government that fears the United States that is not doing serious wrong to their own people.

Were the US to give up that role, there would be no one to take it up, and we would see with the absence of effective alliances why a good alliance keeps the peace. China would be a threat to Taiwan and to all of Korea, and perhaps Japan. Japan would see China as a threat, especially if it swallowed up Taiwan (which is a stone's throw from Okinawa) or Korea, and they would engage in a massive military build-up which would in turn give China further reason to build up its military. With its eastern neighbors engaging in an arms race, who knows how Russia will react around its territories.

The result would be a very expensive and very big powder keg. Japan alone has two major territorial disputes not counting the least likely to blow up,
Tokto/Takeshima: The "Northern Territories" of Etorofu, Kunashiri, and Shikotan, known as the "Southern Kuril Islands" by the Russians who occupy them; and Diaoyutai/Senkaku-shoto, uninhabited islands with great hydrocarbon potential that are also claimed by China and Taiwan, and where Japan has unilaerally declared an economic zone.

For its part, China has numerous territorial disputes besides
Diaoyutai/Senkaku-shoto. There are still issues to be squared away with India and Pakistan, where China is involved with the Kashmir question, said to be the world's largest and most militarized territorial dispute. An area where China may be more likely to get involved in actual shooting might be the Spratly Islands, over which China claims sovereignty, as do Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. China also occupies some of the Paracel Islands that are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. There are even issues with North Korea (islands in the Amnok/Yalu River and in the Tuman/Tumen River, plus an indefinite border around Mt. Paektusan) which could become pretextual flashpoints in some future land grab.

In the early 1990s, the Philippine Senate booted out the US military in a fit of nationalism; shortly thereafter, the People's Republic began putting up military structures in the Spratly Islands to bolster their claim. I don't think the timing is a coincidence but a portent.

It's not like the Big Red Dog is barking at the door.

The biggest red dog has been put to sleep. The other one has been barking, but not so much because we've been feeding it milk-bonz and we're carrying around a big stick.

China is not threatening two of America's two largest trading partners, unless you're referring to Taiwan as one of them.

China is not overtly threatening South Korea or Japan because the United States is there. And China is threatening Taiwan on a regular basis. China waits patiently for opportunities; if none are there, it does nothing.

China is a mid-ranked regional power at best, and Japan and South Korea are more than capable of defending themselves against potential Chinese aggression.

If China were to quickly and decisively take over the Diaoyu-tai/Senkaku-shoto, or to rapidly move in to a collapsing North Korea in order to "restore order," what would a lone Japan, Taiwan, or South Korea be able to do to stop this?

Heck, with China surrounded by Korea, Japan, India, Russia and Vietnam, I fail to see why the U.S. need pay the costs of "keeping things safe."

Taiwan and South Korea spend about 2.5% of their GDP for their military. South Korean males are required to spend on average over two years of their young lives in military service; Taiwanese spend 18 months. In other words, they are paying part, not all of the costs. These countries are paying what they can, and they're giving up a lot in terms of manpower to do it. There is no free ride; these are not welfare queens.

Japan's case is special, because of the pacifist constitution that the United States put in place (and the result has been very good for peace in the region). There is a 1% cap, but in Japan's case, that's a lot of money. Again, Japan is not getting a free ride, especially considering the usage of valuable land that Japan provides the U.S. military bases. Tokyo is paying its own way in ways that it can.

Seems to me a waste of resources and wrongly placed subsidies.

The US military deterrent costs pennies compared to what could easily happen if the United States were not playing sheriff in this neck of the woods. Besides the blow to democracy and human rights that would likely occur if a war were to break out between China and Japan over the Diaoyu-tai/Senkaku/shoto, for example, or if China were to establish control over North Korea (or all of Korea) or Mongolia. Let's not forget, the Chinese sent in troops to bolster its satellite state just fifty-five years ago; they do consider such things within their purview.

The success of the Pax Americana can be summed up very easily. In the sixty-year period ending with the Korean War, there were FOUR major wars involving the Korean Peninsula: the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95, in which Japan wrested control of Korea from China, taking over Taiwan outright in the process; the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, in which Japan re-asserted its claim over Korea against Russia and moved to take over part of China; the Second Sino-Japanese War, beginning in 1937, in which Korea was used as a base from which to launch and sustain a strong war against China and its other neighbors; and the Korean War, in which the Russians and the Chinese both sought to help a vicious communist Korean government wipe a capitalist Korea off the map.

This is not just about Korea: Japan was the instigator in three of those wars; including the bloodiest; China was involved in three of them; and Russia was involved in two.

Since the end of the Korean War, when the US-ROK alliance, the US-Japan alliance, and the US-Taiwan alliance were all firmly established and in place, there have been ZERO major conflicts. The only variable has been the strong U.S. presence.

The sheriff's in town, so behave.

So is this a big waste of money? Not considering what the recent historical record shows us that the future holds without the U.S. playing sheriff.

By way of analogy, think of the dikes and levees that were supposed to prevent New Orleans and southern Louisiana from being submerged in the event of a serious hurricane. The Feds and the State (apparently under both Republican and Democratic leadership) decided that it would be too costly to do anything beyond a Category-3 hurricane. And after all, what is the likelihood of something more powerful than that hitting New Orleans? Not enough to justify the extra billions of dollars it would have taken.

Well, New Orleans gets hit by category-4 hurricane that had just been downgraded from a cateogry-5. What happens the ensuing death and destruction was far, far, far greater than what was saved by not preparing for it.

A war involving the countries that now benefit from the Pax Americana would be a major blow to the US economy. China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan make up 40% of the U.S.'s top trading partners. There would be untold death and destruction, probably hurting those who share the democratic values of the United States. And these wars have a way of eventually pulling the United States in anyway, so our effort to "save our boys" by getting out of the way would probably be for naught anyway.

With Hurricane Katrina, defense against foreign terrorists at home during 9/11, defense against domestic terrorists in Oklahoma City, etc., we can see that there are so many cases where the we (American citizens) were inadequately prepared for a threat we either underestimated or did not see. But here in East Asia, we are actually vigilant and ready. Why dismantle what has been and continues to be a genuine success story?

Of course, the lack of multilateral security systems in the region is somewhat distressing, but then again, when Uncle Sam is handing out bilateral defense guarantees, there's really no reason to build rational security regimes with your neighbors.

Somewhat distressing? It's very distressing. The United States can and should use its role to bolster good triangular relations with its allies. That might involve getting Roh to be more like Kim Daejung (who said that Korea and Japan's future relations should not be determined by historical grievances) and getting Koizumi to stop flouting the sensitivities of countries against which Japan onced aggressed.

And to be fair, the "sheriff mentality" can be applied both ways. South Korean personnel have been "deputized" for duty in other parts of the world, especially in Vietnam but also recently in East Timor, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Japanese personnel as well. This is something that should continue (in Japan's case, carefully so, within the framework of the pacifist constitution), maybe even increased.

That would be a better solution than bemoaning having to play sheriff because no one else can. Embrace being the peacemaker and peacekeeper; it is the legacy for which future history books will praise the nation. Plus it's a lot cheaper than the alternative.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

November 5, 1979 archives: A Very Tough Peasant

As part of the coverage of the assassination of Park Chunghee in 1979, TIME included this bio. Of interest to some might be Park's chosen Japanese name when he entered Imperial military academies in Manchuria and Tokyo: he was Masao Takagi. Note also that they were referring to South Korea as "a model of economic development" even in the 1970s.

A Very Tough Peasant

''Remember, he was tough. Very, very tough. Even the opposition respected him and understood this.'' So said former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Richard Sneider last week about the man who made his poverty-afflicted country a model of economic development. Aloof, authoritarian and disdainful, Park Chung Hee demanded respect, not popularity. And that is what he got.

Park was born into a poor peasant family in 1917 near the city of Taegu.

After attending a village primary school and later a government-run teachers college, he became a smalltown teacher in 1937. Tiring of academic life, Park enrolled in military academies in Manchuria and Tokyo.

From 1910 until the end of World War II, Korea was a Japanese colony. Park, like other Korean officer candidates, was required to take a Japanese name (Masao Takagi) and an oath of loyalty to the Emperor.

After World War II and the division of his country, Park joined the new South Korean army. His rapid rise was briefly interrupted in 1948 when he was arrested on charges of being a Communist agent. Park was acquitted—after turning state's evidence against several of his fellow officers. During the Korean War, his aloofness set him apart from other generals of his country's army, who were known familiarly to their American colleagues by anglicized nicknames. Park, a puritanical loner, was always ''General Park.'' In 1961, a year after the ouster of Strongman Syngman Rhee, Park and four other generals seized power in a coup; two years later Park won the presidency by a narrow margin in a surprisingly free and fair election.

Park's main goal in office was to turn South Korea into a dynamic capitalist society on the Asian mainland, using Japan as a model. In this he succeeded. Since 1961, South Korea's per capita income has risen from $85 a year to around $1,500. South Korea now has a gross national product of some $50 billion (four times that of North Korea), and is a hard-bargaining rival to Japan in exports of steel, ships and textiles. New superhighways cut through the countryside; high-rise offices and apartments form towering sky lines in Korean cities. Rare among developing societies, South Korea has steered development capital to the countryside, so that rural Koreans live marginally better than their city cousins. In this, at least, Park Chung Hee did not forget the lessons of his childhood.

The country, however, paid a high price for economic progress: wages remained low, hours were long and factory workers had little, if any, union protection. Park brooked no opposition, either from his colleagues or his citizenry; he even altered the constitution with three "revitalizing" amendments that in effect turned the presidency into a near dictatorship. But not even the efficiency of his omnipresent Korean Central Intelligence Agency could prevent the growth of an opposition that included Christian church leaders as well as restless students. Park's repression proved embarrassing to Washington, especially after the election of Jimmy Carter and his emphasis on human rights.

A small man (5 ft. 4 in.), Park kept himself in military trim. He was a devout Buddhist, and reputed to be a moderate drinker who detested the Korean equivalent of geisha parties. Always austere and humorless, he grew even more introspective when his wife Yook Young Soo was killed during an assassination attempt on his own life in 1974. After the nine-day period of national mourning in South Korea, his body will probably be buried next to her grave, in Seoul's National Cemetery.

Monday, November 28, 2005

November 5, 1979 archives: Assassination in Seoul

This would be a very good piece to read before seeing "The President's Last Bang" (그때 그사람들).

Assassination in Seoul
The killing of President Park raises questions and tensions

It was one of the most bizarre killings of a head of state in history. Late last week President Park Chung Hee, 61, strongman ruler of the Republic of South Korea since 1961, was shot at a dinner party by the chief of his own intelligence service in what was first described by a government spokesman as an "accident." Later, officials revealed that it was a well-planned assassination.

Within hours of the shocking event, the South Korean Cabinet went into emergency session. Former Premier Choi Kyu Hah, who took over as Acting President, announced that most of the country had been placed under martial law. All 39,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea were put on alert. Early this week South Korea was calm, and most of the soldiers and tanks that had been patrolling Seoul had returned to barracks.

In both Seoul and Washington there was apprehension about the future of South Korea. There were plenty of questions. Who would replace Park, a dependable if politically unappealing friend of the West? Would his death inspire North Korea to launch an invasion of the South, which could lead to a wider war? Although the government seemed to be functioning smoothly, was there still the possibility of a coup? To none of these questions were there reassuring answers.

On the morning of his death, Park had traveled to Tangjin, 100 miles south of Seoul, to inaugurate a three-mile-wide irrigation dam. In a sense, it was a fitting site for his last public appearance. After 18 years as a virtual dictator, Park had left his country a legacy of political repression but also of extraordinary development (see box). After the ceremony, Park and his entourage—including his ever-present five-man plainclothes guard—returned to Seoul; he spent the rest of the afternoon in his office in the Blue House, South Korea's presidential mansion. At around 6 p.m., Park went to dine with some close associates at a small house connected with the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, inside the Blue House compound.

The host was KCIA Director Kim Jae Kyu, 53. He is a former general and, as one diplomat who knew both men well put it, "a close, long-term chum and adviser in whom Park had a lot of confidence." The other guests were Park's chief security officer, Cha Chi Chul, an even closer adviser, and Park's staff secretary-general, Kim Kae Won.

Park's bodyguards ushered the President to the dining room, then prepared to cool their heels outside. The dining room was small, only 12 by 10½ ft. The four companions arranged themselves around the large, round central table; Park sat at the head, across from Kim Kae Won. The host was on Park's left, with his back to the door, directly across the table from Cha. Scotch whisky flowed freely.

According to the official account, a fierce argument erupted between the intelligence chief and Cha. Kim, a relative moderate, made a last-minute plea to Park to ease his harsh treatment of unruly dissidents. Cha chided Kim for his softness. At about 6:50 p.m., said a high government investigator, Kim left the dining room to meet two co-conspirators and told them, "I will finish them off tonight, so when you hear the gunshots inside, finish off the presidential bodyguard outside.''

Next Kim climbed the stairs to his own office, stuck a pistol in his waistband and returned to the dining room. He listened silently while Cha lambasted him.

He left the room again and spoke with his aides yet another time. Five minutes later, he returned to the table, pulled the .38 revolver and, according to the government investigator, ''cursed, fired the first shot at Cha and then fired at Park.''

Park was hit three times; one bullet struck him in the chest, penetrating to the spine, at least one other in the head. Cha was mortally wounded. Hearing the first shot, five KCIA agents armed with pistols and an M-16 automatic rifle rushed in and gunned down three of Park's bodyguards waiting in the kitchen and two others in another room. They killed four and wounded the fifth.

It was not clear what the killers wanted to accomplish or whom—and what—they wanted to follow Park. But according to government investigators, Kim was afraid he might lose his job as KCIA chief because Park no longer trusted his judgment. Reportedly, a faction in the intelligence agency also had come to believe that Park could no longer govern effectively and that he had ruled too long.

It was an open secret in Seoul that there had been bad blood between Cha and Kim, who resented Cha's growing influence on Park. Kim had been criticized for the KCIA'S failure to predict swelling opposition. Then, when he tried to counsel Park to be more conciliatory, he was overruled.

After Park was shot, Secretary-General Kim Kae Won carried the dying President out to his car and, at 7:55, reached a nearby hospital. Park was pronounced dead on arrival. The assassin, meanwhile, drove himself to army headquarters and surrendered; five co-conspirators were soon arrested and the government reported ''many others'' were taken for questioning. Meanwhile, the Cabinet was called into emergency session; as prescribed by the constitution, Premier Choi, a loyal Park administrator, was named Acting President. The army Chief of Staff, General Chung Seung Hwa, was placed in charge of martial law; he immediately ordered a nighttime curfew and press censorship. South Korea's 200 universities and colleges were closed, and a division of troops was moved into the Seoul area against possible disorders.

As the city came to life in the morning, there were neither grieving crowds nor rejoicing students, but the streets were decked with black streamers and passers-by stopped to read the shocking headlines.

Not until 10 a.m. did Choi address the country on radio and TV. ''This is a time for all 37 million Korean people to stay calm and do their best to preserve our country for our survival,'' he said. ''Our armed forces have gone on alert to guard against any North Korean moves.''

The first word reached Washington, via a "secure line" telephone call to Presidential Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski from Ambassador William Gleysteen. After alerting President Carter, Brzezinski summoned a meeting of the Special Coordination Committee, whose members include Defense Secretary Harold Brown, Army Chief of Staff General Edward Meyer, CIA Deputy Director Frank Carlucci and Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher.

The U.S. response, it was decided, would have to demonstrate a readiness to repel any North Korean adventurism, but without any provocative overdramatization. All U.S. units in South Korea, including the Second Infantry Division and the 72 F-4 fighters of the 8,000-man Air Force detachment, were put on a "defense condition 3" level of alert, two notches below a red alert. The Pentagon sent the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk toward a South Korean port and rushed two Airborne Warning and Control planes to the area to monitor North Korean military movements. U.S. diplomats in Peking and Moscow urged the Chinese and Soviets to use their influence to restrain North Korea. Washington also warned North Korea that the U.S. would "react strongly in accordance with its treaty obligations to any external attempt to exploit the situation.''

The tough North Korean army—80,-000 stronger than South Korea's—is deployed behind the entire 151-mile Demilitarized Zone, just 30 miles north of Seoul.

For years there have been increasing fears that Kim II Sung, 67, North Korea's self-appointed ''great and beloved leader,'' might try once more to fulfill his lifelong dream of reuniting the peninsula by conquest. The crisis in the South seemed just the sort of opportunity that might tempt him to gamble on an American lack of resolve.

If North Korean divisions came pouring across the DMZ, the U.S. would almost automatically become involved in another Korean war. At worst, U.S. strategists envision a wider Korean conflict leading to a superpower confrontation between China and the Soviet Union.

Kim II Sung has played one off against the other, to keep from being dominated by either while drawing maximum support from both. If it looked as though U.S. forces were about to drive him back to the Yalu River, the Soviets might be tempted to venture a salvage action—which could provoke Chinese counterintervention.

The tense but orderly aftermath to Park's death appeared to present a solid front against any North Korean taste for adventure. In one sense Park's death could not have been more untimely: the country has been troubled by new outbreaks of unrest. South Korea's economic boom has brought not only prosperity, but also a fresh appetite for long-denied political freedoms. Last month the new tensions between Park's authoritarianism and the hunger for reform erupted in an open revolt by Park's political opposition and an explosion of student riots.

Always impatient with parliamentary processes, Park appeared to regard them at best as a necessary nuisance. He provoked the recent troubles with a highhanded abuse of the virtually absolute powers he held under the 1972 constitution. He had conducted a repressive vendetta against Kim Young Sam, head of the opposition New Democratic Party. Kim incurred Park's wrath by defying a 1975 decree against criticizing the government. The opposition leader publicly called Park's regime "basically dictatorial" and urged the U.S. to "pressure" Park into granting long-denied human rights. Park ordered his tame majority in the 231 -member National Assembly to expel Kim. Overnight, the 69 other opposition members angrily resigned from the assembly in protest.

Outrage at Kim's expulsion quickly spread to the volatile university campuses. Following a series of antigovernment rallies, major riots erupted in the southern port city of Pusan. More than 3,000 students, joined by older demonstrators, charged through the streets, attacking government buildings. A total of 73 policemen were injured, and scores of demonstrators arrested. The protests spread to the industrial city of Masan. Park responded with a crackdown—ordering virtual martial law in both cities.

The rioting shook longstanding Western confidence in the stability of Park's regime. When Defense Secretary Brown visited Seoul two weeks ago, he brought with him a letter of rebuke from Carter, protesting Park's repression of human rights.

Washington's main worry now is who will succeed Park, and what the new President will stand for. According to the constitution—which foreign observers believe will be honored by the interim government—the 2,583-member National Conference of Unification, which is a kind of electoral college, must meet within 90 days and choose a President. Observers in Seoul very much doubt that Park's successor will be Acting President Choi, a bureaucrat who seems to have neither the stature nor the following for the job.

One name on many tongues is Kim Jong Pil, 53, the first director of the KCIA and the husband of Park's niece.

He served as Premier from 1971 to 1975, but then more or less dropped out of politics, apparently disenchanted with Park.

Another possibility is Chung II Kwon, 61, the much decorated first four-star general (retired); his distinguished career includes terms of service as Foreign Minister, Premier and speaker of the assembly.

Both men are considered pro-Western antiCommunists, who will carry on Park's foreign policies. Especially now, they could both be expected to lobby even more strongly than Park did against any further withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea. And in either case, a more liberal regime could well emerge in response to the new opposition pressures. Neither of the possible leaders, of course, was making a move while the country mourned its fallen President.

''The wheeling and dealing won't start until after the funeral,'' said one senior political figure. ''But then there is an awful lot to get settled.'' For Seoul, that was probably the understated judgment of the year.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Korea a destination for medical tourists?

AFP reports that some Korean doctors are hoping to turn Korea's current position at the vanguard of pioneering stem cell therapy into an opportunity for the country to become a "medical tourism" destination for foreigners unable to find cures in the own countries.

According to AFP, two foreigners have already received therapy at South Korean medical firm Histostem, which has perfected a method of stem cell therapy using umbilical cord blood and boasts the biggest stock of cord blood and stem cells in the world.

With South Korea's medical facilities boasting both high-tech and low cost (relative to treatment in countries like the United States), the potential for medical tourism is high, and not just for pioneering or unproven technologies.

But back to the story at hand. Despite some skepticism over the therapy, Histostem is hoping to build a hospital on the southern island of Cheju-do, already known for gambling, water sports, and volcano hikes. They already have a large plot of land and hope to complete construction by 2007, depending on when and why type of legislation Cheju-do passes to provide incentives for companies to move there.

For those of you who don't remember your high school biology, stem cells refer to master cells found in embryos and other areas of the body that can develop into cells of any organ. Their potential therapeutic benefit has been touted for years, and experts say it is possible that stem-cell therapies may be useful in treating illnesses from cancer to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. But of course, nothing is certain.

Read the article for details on the firm's claimed success, along with critics who say this is not yet proven.

Aso the Isolationist? Aso the Uncaring? Aso the Can't-Be-Bothered?

Reuters reports that Japan's right-wing foreign minister (an "unapologetic bigot") criticized South Korea and China for protesting against Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, a major sore point in Tokyo's relations with Seoul and Beijing.

Foreign Minister Taro Aso is also quoted in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun as saying that Japan should not worry about how it is viewed by other countries or whether it has become isolated:
The only countries in the world that talk about Yasukuni are China and South Korea... We don't have to worry about whether Japan is isolated or is not being liked.
Reuters adds that the sixty-five-year-old Aso, an outspoken member of the ruling party's conservative camp, has landed himself in hot water over remarks regarding Japan's past record in Asia. In May 2003, Aso caused an uproar in South Korea after he made comments interpreted as an attempt to justify some of the actions imperial Japan imposed on Koreans. Japanese colonial authorities essentially forced most Koreans to change their names to Japanese ones during the time, but Aso said that the measure initially began when some Koreans had asked for Japanese names.

September 24, 1945 archives:
The Korean Way

I think I should comment on a few of these archives (which up to now I have kept "as is," except for a few underlined key points). Key lines here are that the Americans thought the Koreans were "the same breed of cat as the Japanese," and that the American forces mistakenly kept the Japanese in power.

Especially, note also that the infamous words "in due course" was mistranslated as "in a few days."

Anyway, this and the other TIME archives from the same few weeks show that Korea was a little more than an afterthought, as many today assume, and that the problems that arose came from errors, not neglect.

International: The Korean Way

"Government meetings at Seoul [capital of Korea] were held, in two sections. The first was composed of the 'help discuss' mandarins. They talked for hours and days on a stretch. They plumbed the innards of every problem. They reviewed every, plan proposed for anything. Then they arose and went off. . . .

"After the 'help discuss' mandarins had departed, the 'help decide' mandarins took over. They paid little attention to what the research had been. Each offered a decision . . . and at length a set of these were adopted. . . . It wasn't long after [that] the Japanese took over Korea."

Last year, New York Timesman Arthur Krock selected this picture of Korean administration at the turn of the century as an appropriate brick to throw (by way of parable) at Washington's bureaucracy. Last week the lack of connection between U.S. "help discuss" and "help decide" mandarins was painfully apparent in Korea.

Washington's State, War and Navy Coordinating Committee (SWINCC) had delved for months into the Korean problem, bristling with thorny questions of U.S.-Russian-Chinese relations. When surrender came, SWINCC hastily wrote a tentative directive, sent the State Department's Merrell Benninghoff to Korea to act as political adviser to U.S. occupation forces. Benninghoff got as far as Okinawa, was shunted off to Japan.

Man of Decision. Meanwhile, Lieut. General John R. Hodge, unbriefed on Korea, landed there. The directive he had not seen told him to replace Japanese officials immediately. Hodge retained the Japs, including the notorious General Nobuyuki Abe, ex-Governor of Korea, whom he thanked publicly for making the U.S. occupation "simple and easy." Hodge also kept the Japanese police, holding that Koreans were "too excited" to perform police duty and that they were "the same breed of cat as the Japanese." Koreans roared and rioted (Japanese soldiers machine-gunned one throng, killed two, wounded ten.)

Even before Hodge arrived they had been in a ferment. U.S. planes had dropped leaflets with Korean translations of the Cairo declaration promising Korea independence "in due course." The Korean translation of "in due course" meant "in a few days."

After 35 years of complete Japanese domination, Koreans were falling over themselves with pent-up political activity. One small boat met the U.S. convoy 20 miles offshore. In it was a Korean who nominated himself for Finance Minister.

From Seoul, LIFE Photographer George Silk cabled: "I am writing this during a party in Korea's leading geisha house. The party is the third in a succession of 51 such parties. In the last few weeks 51 Korean political organizations have mushroomed and each tried to reach American military authorities. Failing, they are entertaining the U.S. press. Some of the new parties' names: Republican, Democratic, Communist, New Korea, Party for the Control of Law and Order, and Party for Cooperation with the Party for the Control of Law and Order."

The U.S. zone in Korea ran up to the 38th parallel. From the Russian zone north of there came reports that Soviet influence was being consolidated by Communists, picked from the thousands of Koreans who had fought in the Red Army. Moscow described the Communists as busily organizing meetings, electing town councils.

In Seoul, General Hodge heard from General MacArthur's headquarters in Tokyo (which had heard from Washington). Hodge changed his policy, dismissed Abe and other high Jap Army officials.

U.S. prestige in Korea—and elsewhere—had suffered. Said the N.Y. Times: "A major error of political strategy and principle."

Saturday, November 26, 2005

October 8, 1945 archives: Not Slave, Not Free

Not Slave, Not Free

After 35 years in captivity, Koreans rejoiced to see their Japanese rulers overthrown. But last week, chafing under two sets of liberators, they were jar from that independence "in due course" which the U.S., Britain, China and Russia had jointly promised. From Seoul, TIME Correspondent John Walker cabled:

In Southern Korea a simple fact is news: the grade schools have reopened. The run-down buildings were emptied several months ago when the Japs evacuated school children; the intellectual shutdown occurred a generation ago. The Army is solving the textbook problem the direct way, by going into the printing business. Freedom of worship is back, too. Church bells ring on Sunday morning, and the other day the Most Reverend Paul Ro, Archbishop of Seoul, celebrated a solemn high mass of thanksgiving for liberation.

Rule or Chaos.

This occupation had to be organized in tearing haste. Lieut. General John R. Hodge and the military governor, Major General Archibald V. Arnold, had to staff it with men who, like themselves, are combat officers and not proconsuls. They are shorthanded—Arnold has only 109 men for the whole military government. Men already punchy from combat (and anxious to go home) are driving themselves 15 hours a day and more, trying to get a country of 25 million people rolling again. Before it is done, the job will take experts.

Some Koreans would have welcomed chaos, they were so impatient to get the slate wiped clean for independence. They were bound to be disillusioned by American insistence on retaining the forms of government, and by the Army's slow-motion progress. That is passing. Koreans have replaced almost all the hated Japanese police, and those who remain (as sources of information) are kept out of sight.

The Russians Again.

The Japs organized this country thoroughly: the south was the rice bowl, the north was the workshop (see map). Together the two parts formed a working economic entity; separated they are simply out of gear. The split along the 38th parallel is Korea's biggest, most galling problem. The border isn't closed, but no shipments are coming over.

The Russians are businesslike in occupying what was enemy territory.

Their attitude toward civilians is: "Give us what we want and keep the hell out of our way." They brought fine weapons but few supplies, and they are living off the country. That probably stimulates the impression of widespread looting. Optimists say the Russians are rough because they don't intend to stay. Pessimists say the Americans will throw up the game and pull out, leaving all the Orient to the Russians.

Economics & Rice.

This peninsula's capital plant has been worn out by Jap exploitation and the drain of war. Machinery is falling apart, roads are knocked to rubble. Industry is at a standstill —laborers won't work for the former owners, and wage ceilings are too low.

Quickie strikes abound, and an Army officer recently complained that the holidaying Koreans had thought up a Fifth Freedom — freedom from work. Absentee ism can easily be overcome, but raw materials must come from the north (again, the 38th parallel).

A bumper rice crop is coming up — the only bright spot I see in the coming winter of privation. The dipsy-doodle price of rice shows how values have changed. It shot to 280 yen per bushel in the Japs' latter days. At the end, hoarded stocks were dumped. The price fell to 28 yen (briefly) and by now is back to 100 to 120 yen on the black market. The Army has set a military exchange rate of 15 yen to the dollar. But 25 or 30 would be more realistic.

The Politicians.

Korea today has almost no politics, and legions of politicians. Seventy-odd parties stepped up to be counted at General Hodge's request. The best guess is that they will shake down to three: 1) a "democratic" party, conservative and nationalist; 2) an extreme left-wing party, Communist-dominated ; 3) a middle or pinkish party, claiming a position comparable to Labor's in Britain.

All parties are for independence, nationalism, turning the Jap rascals out. Where they differ is on methodology, nationalizing industry, and on local issues. After years of political frustration there are few strong personalities. One is plump, man-of -good-will Woon Heung Lyuh (pronounced Yuh), 60, head of the provisional commission for rebuilding Korea, nucleus of party No. 3. He is out of circulation at the moment (it appears there were a couple of fist fights). Lyuh told me he wants to set all good Koreans — Communists included — help the reconstruction.

Song Chin Woo, a fiftyish editor with a long record in the secret nationalist movement, is remaining aloof from parties while things jell. Cho Mansik, called the Gandhi of Korea, is a Christian church elder whom the Russians reportedly brought out of retirement to head the municipal government of industrial Pyengyang. As for the long-exiled government at Chung king, some Koreans would welcome it as a ready-made instrument for wielding political power. More likely, its members will return as private individuals.

In Korean eyes the two tragedies of their country are that the Japanese were here from 1910 on, and the Russians are here now. Eventually the Koreans must solve the problem of transforming their schizoid country into a nation. Meanwhile it is our problem too, and what the U.S. does here in the next year or so will be the tip-off to our future role in the Orient.

Best Friends Forever

I found this strip somewhere and it cracked me up. Two guys back in the 1980s talking (with amazing prescience) about Saddam, US policy, Iran, etc., interjected with silly 1980s-era slogans you would imagine a high school teenie bopper saying.

"Mr. Miyagi" dies

Japanese-American actor Noriyuki "Pat" Morita, the comedian and actor who received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of the sage martial arts instructor, Mr. Miyagi (at left, with Ralph Macchio), in the popular Karate Kid film series, has died at the age of 73 of kidney failure.

If you watch reruns of the ABC television hit "Happy Days," you will recognize him as Matsuo "Arnold" Takahashi of the eponymous Arnold's where characters played by Ron Howard and Henry Winkler (both related to "Arrested Development") hung out. He also provided the voice of the Chinese emperor in Mulan.

As this obituary in the Los Angeles Times
points out, Morita had been a stand-up comic for years (at one time called "the Hip Nip"). He was the son of migrant fruit pickers and the native-born American was interned at the Gila River, Arizona, internment camp for people of Japanese descent during World War II.

The L.A. Times article goes into some interesting detail about his life, including the fact that he knew little about martial arts before he took up the signature Mr. Miyagi role in 1984. It also talks about a time he was inadvertently booked for a gathering of Pearl Harbor survivors on the 25th anniversary of the attack. Turning on as much "angelic, cherubic charm" as he could find, he went out and said, "Before I begin, I just want to say I'm sorry about messing up your harbor." After silence, a wave of laughter swept over the crowd.

He once said of his humor: "Only in America could you get away with the kind of comedy I did. If I tried it in Japan before the war, it would have been considered blasphemy, and I would have ended in leg irons."

Who are the fourteen Class-A war criminals enshrined at Yasukuni?

The "Class-A war criminals" enshrined at the controversial Yasukuni Shrine are those found guilty of "crimes against peace" (class A), as differentiated from conventional war crimes (class B) and crimes against humanity (class C). In essence, these were supposed to be the people who were responsible for waging the war.

More than 300,000 Japanese citizens (which included a few Koreans and Taiwanese, who were Japanese citizens at the time), were charged with class B and C war crimes, mostly for prisoner abuse.

Twelve of the Yasukuni-14 were among twenty-five military and political leaders convicted of waging war, a Class-A crime against peace. This included wartime Prime Minister Hideki Tojo. The other two are people charged with Class-A crimes but died before the completion of their trial. A total of seven, including Tojo, were executed on December 23, 1948, at Sugamo Prison in Ikebukuro.

The fact that none of the so-called Yasukuni-14 actually died in war has caused some to suspect political motives for their enshrinement in the late 1970s, such as sending a message that the results of the war crimes tribunals were to be rejected. While it could reasonably be argued that those who were executed did, nonetheless, die in the service of the Emperor, albeit after the War, it is harder to make this claim for the five who were not sentenced to death. Even if one were to accept the argument that dying (of natural causes) in prison for acts done in supposed support of the Emperor made one worthy of being enshrined at Yasukuni Shinsa, it is more difficult to see how enshrinement could be justified in the case of one who dies of natural causes while a free man.

The Class-A indictment accused the defendants of promoting a scheme of conquest that:

contemplated and carried out ... murdering, maiming and ill-treating prisoners of war [and] civilian internees ... forcing them to labor under inhumane conditions ... plundering public and private property, wantonly destroying cities, towns and villages beyond any justification of military necessity; [perpetrating] mass murder, rape, pillage, brigandage, torture and other barbaric cruelties upon the helpless civilian population of the overrun countries.
The Asia Times includes the counts of the indictment:

Count 1: As "leaders, organizers, instigators, or accomplices in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy .. to wage wars of aggression, and war or wars in violation of international law."
Count 27: Waging unprovoked war against China;
Count 29: Waging aggressive war against the United States;
Count 31: Waging aggressive war against the British Commonwealth;
Count 32: Waging aggressive war against the Netherlands;
Count 33: Waging aggressive war against France (Indochina);
Count 35 & 36: Waging aggressive war against the USSR;
Count 54: "Ordered, authorized, and permitted" inhumane treatment of prisoners of war and others;
Count 55: "Deliberately and recklessly disregarded their duty" to take adequate steps to prevent atrocities.

The Class-A war criminals enshrined at Yasukuni are:

General Hideki Tojo* (1884-1948). Sentenced to death. Photo at left.

Chief, Manchurian secret police, 1935; councillor, Manchurian Affairs Bureau, 1936; chief of staff, Kwantung Army, 1937-38; vice minister of war, 1938; minister of war 1940-44; premier, 1941-44. Considered the arch-criminal of the Pacific War. Tojo assumed full responsibility for all the actions of his government and the military during the war. Convicted on Counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32, 33, 54. Tōjō Hideki was hanged on December 23, 1948.

General Kenji Doihara (1883-1948). Sentenced to death.

Commander, Kwantung Army, 1938-40; Supreme War Council, 1940-43; army commander in Singapore, 1944-45. Deeply involved in the army's drug trafficking in Manchuria. Later ran brutal POW and internee camps in Malaya, Sumatra, Java and Borneo. Convicted on counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32, 35, 36, 54. Doihara Kenji was hanged on December 23, 1948.

Baron Koki Hirota (1878-1948). Sentenced to death. Photo at left.

Ambassador to the Soviet Union, 1928-31; foreign minister, 1933-36; premier, 1936-37. Was foreign minister during the Rape of Nanjing and other atrocities perpetrated by the army. As premier, he led his cabinet in planning the invasions of Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands, in addition to continuing the undeclared war against China. Convicted on Counts 1, 27, 55. Hirota Kōki was hanged on December 23, 1948.

General Seishiro Itagaki (1885-1948). Sentenced to death.

Chief of Staff, Kwantung Army, 1936-37; minister of war, 1938-39; chief, army general staff, 1939; commander in Korea, 1941; Supreme War Council, 1943; commander in Singapore, 1945. Troops under his command in China terrorized prisoners and civilians. Was responsible for prison camps in Java, Sumatra, Malaya, Borneo and elsewhere. Convicted on Counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32, 35, 36, 54. Itagaki Seishirō was hanged on December 23, 1948.

General Heitaro Kimura (1888-1948). Sentenced to death.

Chief of Staff, Kwantung Army, 1940-41; vice minister of war, 1941-43; Supreme War Council, 1943; army commander in Burma, 1944-45. Helped plan the China and Pacific wars, including surprise attacks. Involved in the brutalization of the Allied POWs and was the field commander in Burma when civilian and POW slave labor built and died on the Siam-Burma Railway. Convicted on Counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32, 54, 55. Kimura Heitaro was hanged on December 23, 1948.

General Iwane Matsui (1878-1948). Sentenced to death.

Personal appointee of the emperor to the Geneva Disarmament Conference, 1932-37; commander, China Expeditionary Force, 1937-38. Troops under his overall command were responsible for the Rape of Nanjing in 1937 and other atrocities. He retired in 1938 and then ceased to play an active role in military affairs. Convicted on Count 55. Matsui Iwane was hanged on December 23, 1948.

General Akira Muto (1892-1948). Sentenced to death.

Vice chief of staff, China Expeditionary Force, 1937; director, military Affairs Bureau, 1939-42; army commander in Sumatra, 1942-43; army chief of staff in the Philippines, 1944-45. Troops under his command participated in both the Rape of Nanjing and the Rape of Manila. Convicted on Counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32, 54, 55. Mutō Akira was executed on December 23, 1948.

Baron Kiichiro Hiranuma (1867-1952). Sentenced to life imprisonment, but released five years later.
Privy Council, 1924-39; founder and president of Kokuhonsha (a right-wing nationalistic society), 1926-28; premier, 1938; minister of home affairs, 1940; minister without portfolio, 1940-41; president, Privy Council, 1945. Convicted on Counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32, 36. Despite his life sentence, Hiranuma Ki'ichirō was released from prison in 1951, and died of natural causes the following year.

General Kuniaki Koiso (1880-1950). Sentenced to life imprisonment.
Vice minister of war, 1932; Chief of Staff, Kwantung Army, 1932-34; army commander in Korea, 1935-38; minister of overseas affairs, 1939; governor-general, Korea, 1942-44; premier 1944-45. Was known among the Korean population as "the Tiger of Korea" because of his brutality. As premier, he was aware of POW death camps. Convicted on Counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32, 55. Koiso Kuniaki died in prison of natural causes while serving his sentence.

Toshio Shiratori (1887-1949). Sentenced to life imprisonment.

Director, Information Bureau, Foreign Ministry, 1929-33; ambassador to Italy, 1938-40; adviser to the foreign minister, 1940. A supporter of military expansionism, he favored an alliance among Germany, Italy the Soviet Union and Japan to dominate the world. Convicted on Count 1. Shiratori Toshio died in prison of natural causes while serving his sentence.

General Yoshijiro Umezu (1882-1949). Sentenced to life imprisonment.

Section chief, general staff, 1931-34; commander, China Expeditionary Force, 1934; vice minister of war, 1939-44; army chief of staff, 1944-45. Convicted on Counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32. Umezu Yoshijirō died in prison while serving his sentence.

Shigenori T
ogo (1882-1950). Sentenced to twenty years in prison.
Ambassador to Germany, 1937; ambassador to the Soviet Union, 1938; foreign minister, 1941-42, 1945. Convicted on Counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32. Tōgō Shigenori, a descendant of Korean potters who were forcibly taken to Japan during the Imjin War of the 1590sdied in prison while serving his sentence.

Yosuke Matsuoka (1880 - 1946). Died before trial was completed.
The one-time Oakland and Portland resident and University of Oregon graduate gained international notoriety in 1933 when he announced Japan's departure from the League of Nations as a result of the League's criticism of Japan's operations in "Manchu State". After leaving the foreign service, he became president of the South Manchurian Railroad, at which time he worked closely with Hideki Tojo, who was then serving as chief of the Kwantung Army's secret police. In 1940, Matsuoka became minister of foreign affairs under prime minister Konoe Fumimaro. Matsuoka Y
ōsuke was a major advocate of a Japanese alliance with Nazi Germany and fascist Italy.

Osami Nagano (1880 -1947). Died before trial was completed.
Appointed minister of the navy under Koki Hirota in 1936, and was appointed Commander in Chief of the Fleet in 1937. In 1941, Nagano became Chief of the Naval General Staff. In this capacity, he ordered the attack against the United States Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor. He was promoted to fleet admiral in 1943. While standing trial Nagano Osami assumed responsibility for the Pearl Harbor attack, but he died of a heart attack before the trial was complete.

* Names are listed initially in a "Western"-style format of given name followed by surname. At the end of each listing, I have written the names in "traditional" surname-followed-by-given-name format, with diacritical marks (e.g.,
ō) where appropriate.

Friday, November 25, 2005

October 8, 1945 archives: City of the Bell

Foreign News: City of the Bell
The autumn air was brisk and clear. Eagles wheeled overhead against the white clouds, their shadows crossing palaces and hovels, crumbling temples and Western buildings. The city of Seoul (pronounced soul), home of a million people, was 550 years old. Yet the Americans felt like discoverers last week as they explored Korea's mountain-ringed capital.

On the broad boulevards their jeeps competed with oxcarts, with bicycles thick as gnats. Tooting streetcars fairly bulged with grinning Koreans, all in white. Pedestrians gave ground to nothing on wheels; they did not walk like conquered men. In twisted alleys and along the teeming Bun Chung, G.I.s shopped for kimonos. In the "Grill Room Hollywood" they made faces over the villainous brandy. At the "International Cultural Association" they danced (at two yen a dance) with slack-clad Kihsang girls. Over & over, the eleven-piece band played My Blue Heaven.

In the Chongno, street of the big bell, the visitors heard a legend: the city's ten-foot bell has an overtone like the wail of a child, since an infant was among the treasures that went into it in 1396. It rang long & loud on liberation night. Part of the Japanese false front of modernism, they learned, was a race track beyond the East Gate. The Japs took their horses away, so it is closed. Near the South Gate, called Nam Tai Moon, the brick railway station was seething with refugees and other travelers. Nobody was northbound—that way lay Manchuria. Only a handful of Russian liaison officers—no troops—had appeared in Seoul. When one carload neared the city, they were politely turned back.

In their letters home, the Americans would remark that in Seoul the palaces face south, the city wall is all but gone, a tycoon is a yang ban, the favorite dish is shinsunro (beef, eggs, fish, chestnuts, etc.), the housewives wash their white clothes endlessly, and countrymen still wear miniature, translucent top hats, the traditional insigne of the married man. Very friendly people, too—everybody beaming and waving, and the children tagging along behind jeeps shrieking "Hello! hello!"

A wonderful place. But the G.I.s could hardly wait to get home.

January 17, 1938 archives: In Nanking

Religion: In Nanking

Of some 6,000 Protestant missionaries working in China at the outbreak of the present war, only about 300 have left the country. In some cases in battle areas where there are wounded to care for, the missionaries remain at the colleges and universities, hospitals and medical missions where for years they and their predecessors Christianized and educated the best class of Chinese, nurturing the indigenous Chinese Christian phenomenon of the New Life Movement of the Chiang Kai-sheks. In the New York Times last week, details in a lengthy airmailed dispatch by F. Tillman Durdin on the fall of Nanking (TIME, Dec. 27) revealed something of the fortitude currently displayed in China by these men of God in the foreign field.

Before the Japanese encircled Nanking, the gunboat Panay—day before it was sunk—evacuated most foreigners from the doomed city and the Chinese defense commander, General Tang Sheng-chi, fled, leaving his officers and men to their fate. During the four terrible days between the departure of the Panay and the arrival of the Japanese fleet, Nanking was a flaming chaos without government, without telephones, electricity or water supply. Not many more than a score of white men, most of them Americans and most of the Americans missionaries, remained during the siege in which the Japanese slaughtered 33,000 Chinese soldiers (20,000 by execution), and wounded some 5,000, as well as thousands of civilians who, according to Timesman Durdin, "hobbled about, dragged themselves through alleyways, died by the hundreds on the main streets."

Two missionary professors, Dr. Lewis S. C. Smythe and Dr. Miner Searle Bates of the University of Nanking, helped organize a Nanking safety zone which, although the Japanese merely spared it from concentrated bombardment, probably saved thousands of civilian lives. To this zone went thousands of frantic Chinese soldiers, eager to exchange their uniforms for civilian garb, or even to strip themselves to their underclothing lest the Japanese execute them as soldiers. Upon Rev. John Magee, able Episcopal missionary, lately of Shanghai, fell the job of organizing medical care in Nanking, Chinese army hospitals being completely inadequate. With two missionary doctors and two American nurses—whose dormitories were looted when the Japanese entered the city, as were faculty houses at Ginling College for women—the U. S.- supported University of Nanking Hospital remained open through the siege and fall of Nanking. How Missionary Magee, the university professors and doctors and other missionaries thereafter fared, Timesman Durdin did not state nor did he indicate the prospects of the university and Ginling College at Japanese hands. Obviously, however, both would need their share, and probably more, of $300,000 which U. S. supporters of twelve Chinese Christian colleges and universities are currently trying to raise for emergency needs.

MBC program scrutinizes Dr. Hwang

Marmot has an update to this story on Dr. Hwang Woosuk and the controversy surrounding how he got egg donors, which provides more detail than I have time to today.

For now, all I will say is that while I can understand why advertisers might feel uncomfortable sponsoring an investigative program on MBC that might seem determined to sully a national hero, the very fact that MBC went ahead and did this undermines the echo chamber's notion that the Korean media is almost universally, hopelessly pro-Korean to the point of having blinders on. Had Marmot not brought this story to the English-speaking blogosphere's attention, the same would have been assumed to be true about the Korean media's treatment of Dr. Hwang as well.

As I have said in my earlier post, whether or not he is guilty of violating guidelines, regulations, or laws, I hope the lesson is learned that Korea's limelight has become a harsh spotlight, and that means that playing by the rules is essential for any individual or group that wants to move ahead and stay there.

AFP is carrying a story about Dr. Hwang's ethics problems entitled, "South Korean cloning edge will survive ethics scandal."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

April 18, 1938: Basket Cases

Foreign News: Basket Cases
Protestant and Jewish philanthropic groups with branches in China had by last week brought together in the U. S. fairly full eyewitness and photographic data on the butchery and rape which reigned in Nanking for over a month after this capital of China fell. There has been the most drastic shakeup by Tokyo of officers whose Japanese soldiers went berserk in Nanking. Even long-eared General Iwane Matsui, the Commander-in-Chief of the victorious Japanese offensive, has been recalled to Japan.

A typical and horrifying case history is that of a young Chinese girl brought in a basket litter on January 26 to the Mission hospital in Nanking. She said that her husband, a Chinese policeman, was seized by one of the Japanese execution squads on the same day that she was taken by Japanese soldiers from a hut in the Safety Zone to the South City. She was kept there for 38 days, she said, and attacked by Japanese soldiers from five to ten times each day. Upon examination by the Mission hospital, she was found to have contracted all three of the most common venereal diseases, a vaginal ulcer which finally ended her usefulness to the soldiers.

The doctors, surgeons, nurses and diplomats in Nanking are not in a position to have their names attached to accounts which they have written and forwarded to their superiors. These tell of countless cases in which the prestige of the white man in the Orient was still sufficient at Nanking during the worst days for a judicious word, a stern remonstrance or a gentle but firm use of physical strength to do much. More than one Japanese soldier, raping a Chinese woman in broad daylight in the streets of Nanking, was chased off by a white man.

Since many of the women raped were killed and buried indiscriminately with Chinese civilians, police and soldiers dispatched by the Japanese execution squads, there are no reliable statistics, but last week every white authority agreed that modern history does not afford another instance of such wholesale rape.

Robbery and looting also flourished in Nanking for many weeks. The number of Chinese executed, not killed in battle, totals by the most conservative Nanking estimates 20,000. Excerpt from a Nanking letter written at the worst period: "One [Chinese] boy of seventeen came in with the tale of about 10,000 Chinese men between the ages of 15 and 30 who were led out of the city on the 14th [of January] to the river bank near the ferry wharf. There the Japanese opened up on them with field guns, hand grenades and machine guns. Most of them were then pushed into the river, some were burned in huge piles, and three managed to escape. Of the 10,000 the boy figured there were about 6,000 ex-soldiers and 4,000 civilians. He has a bullet wound in the chest which is not serious."

February 14, 1938 archives: "The Japanese were bent on butchery"

With Japanese last week still forbidding foreign correspondents to go to captured Nanking (TIME, Dec. 20, et seq.), the Chicago Daily News received last week one of the best eyewitness accounts thus far of the "Nanking atrocities" from its Far East Ace Reporter A. T. Steele.

Writes Mr. Steele, who was in Nanking when the Japanese captured it and has been trying to get out the grim details ever since: "All [the Chinese] knew that to be found in possession of a uniform or a gun meant death. Rifles were broken up and thrown into piles to be burned. The streets were strewn with discarded uniforms and munitions. . . .

"As the Japanese net tightened some of the soldiers went nearly crazy with fear. I saw one suddenly seize a bicycle and dash madly in the direction of the advancing Japanese vanguard, then only a few hundred yards distant. When a pedestrian warned him of his peril he turned swiftly about and dashed in the opposite direction. Suddenly he leaped from his bicycle and threw himself at a civilian and when I last saw him he was trying to rip the clothes from the man's back, at the same time shedding his own uniform. . . .

"I have seen jackrabbit drives in the West, in which a cordon of hunters closes in on the helpless rabbits and drives them into a pen, where they are clubbed or shot. The spectacle at Nanking after the Japanese captured the city was very much the same, with human beings as the victims. . . .

"The Japanese were bent on butchery. They were not to be content until they had slaughtered every soldier or official they could lay hands on. . . . One Japanese soldier stood over the growing pile of corpses with a rifle pouring bullets into any of the bodies which showed movement.

"This may be war to the Japanese, but it looked like murder to me."

Best estimates are that the Japanese executed 20,000 at Nanking, slew 114,000 Chinese soldiers in the Shanghai-Nanking phase of the war, lost 11,200 Japanese in this phase.

October 4, 1937 archives: "humane objective"

As Advertised

The longest city walls in China, built in large part by the early Ming Emperors, encircle the strange city of Nanking. Seven times it has been the capital of Chinese dynasties, as it is today the capital of the republic, and Nanking was old when Jesus was a babe in Bethlehem. Whole districts inside the capital's walls are open fields, dotted here and there with ruined bridges that once spanned rivulets which no longer exist. Down by the Bund fronting the Yangtze River lives a large community of Nanking's 500,000 Chinese people, pack-jammed into squalid, odorous huts. Dotted on impressive sites connected by fine boulevards are shining, splendorous government buildings all completed since China's present leader, Generalissimo Chiang Kaishek, set up his regime at Nanking which means "Southern Capital," abandoning Peking, the "Northern Capital" which Japanese captured this year. Last week there had already been sixteen Japanese air raids over Nanking when the Commander in Chief of the Japanese Navy in China, Admiral Kiyoshi Hasegawa, announced a series of super-bombings to wipe the capital of China from the map.

Japanese editors praised Admiral Hasegawa for "his Samurai-like and knightly attitude" in giving advance warning to the foe. Since in modern times accepted Japanese strategy has been a knife-in-the-back thrust without warning, the Samurai-Admiral appeared almost a freak. To get to Nanking before the deadline he had set for its destruction last week, U. S. correspondents and cameramen leaped into any kind of car they could hire at Shanghai, tore off over 160 miles of road so rough that a jagged rock punctured the crankcase of one car. Nimbly the Chinese chauffeur repaired it with a piece of chamois skin and a can opener, dashed on with his cargo of foreign devils bound for the scene of advertised atrocities.

"Too Unhappy to Speak!"

Japan's eccentric Samurai-Admiral had strongly advised foreigners and their diplomats to seek safety by clearing out of Nanking last week, this knightly advice constituting in the eyes of Western states just about the most brazen piece of Japanese nose-thumbing yet at international law. In Nanking the forehanded Soviet Ambassador, Comrade Dmitry Vasilievich Bogomolov and his Embassy staff at once retired into their new $12,000 concrete dugout, equipped with an icebox and kitchenette and supposed to be able to withstand even a direct hit by a 500-lb. bomb.

Already wounded by Japanese airmen and in the hospital at Shanghai was British Ambassador Knatchbull-Hugessen (TIME, Sept. 27), but British Charge d'Affaires R. G. Howe decided to stick at his post in Nanking. This left U. S. Ambassador Nelson T. Johnson, a longtime Far East veteran who has made tramps and treks in bandit-infested Provinces "just for fun," staring at the standing orders which the U. S. Embassy, Legation and Consulate has recently received under the New Deal. These orders force the ranking U. S. official on the spot to decide what in his judgment constitutes "unnecessary risk" for himself and staff.

"I am too unhappy to speak," Ambassador Johnson told Associated Press. "This is the first time in 30 years I have been forced to leave my post. . . . I cannot risk the lives of the loyal men of my staff. I am not deserting."

While word sped to tell the Chinese Foreign Office that Ambassador Johnson and staff were moving onto the U. S. gunboats Luzon and Guam anchored off the Nanking Bund, Second Secretary J. Hall Paxton, son of a missionary, was alone in asking if he could stay and keep the U. S. Embassy open. The Ambassador said "yes." In 1927 when Nanking, then only a provincial capital, was entered by troops of China's present Premier, young Mr. Paxton was there as Vice Consul. The troops had got completely out of hand, looting every foreign house in town, killing six foreigners, and Vice Consul Paxton was able to get out safely with many U. S. citizens only under cover of a protective barrage laid down by U. S. and British warships firing from the river. With fine missionary spirit, Second Secretary Paxton thinks none the less of Chinese on this account, was deeply pained as anti-U. S. feeling spread like wildfire in Nanking last week and Chinese shrilled: "We have been deserted by the American Ambassador."*

Arriving U. S. correspondents, as they drove into Nanking, flying U. S. flags on their rented cars, were greeted by Chinese with catcalls, insulting gestures. On this day of tense fear that Death might rain at any moment, 29 suspects, mostly natives born in China, but with one or more Japanese parents or grandparents, were shot in Nanking as spies. Drugstores sold civilians thousands of makeshift gas masks made of mere gauze, then a government order directed "confiscation of all gas masks in Nanking for military purposes." Meanwhile all over the capital, toiling furiously at the orders of Generalissimo Chiang, Chinese constructed dugouts with such energy that 5,000 shelters capable of holding about ten persons each were ready at the zero hour set by Admiral Hasegawa. Ordinary Nanking civilians were free to flee, and a large part of the population of the capital had exited in good order, with firms like Standard Oil speeding their Chinese employes to safety, but by decree of Generalissimo Chiang the penalty for a Chinese who quit any government job in Nanking classified as "essential" was Death.

Clawing Condors.

"Spare Nanking! Respect international law. Don't bomb defenseless civilians!"—Such was the gist of diplomatic pleas and protests made meanwhile at Tokyo by Britain and the U. S., later joined by two other occidental states. Japanese officials replied that their "humane objective" was to end the war as quickly as possible, but all the same Nanking was spared from noon, the original "Zero Hour," until the next morning—not out of Japanese respect for the protests of the Great Powers but because of "weather unsuitable for bombing."

At 10:35 a.m. rasping Nanking sirens screeched the air raid warning. Japan's bombers had of course taken off from Shanghai, and 13 young Chinese airmen, each piloting a U. S.-built Curtiss-Hawk, whirred up and away into the northwest to meet the invaders. Just as the Chinese disappeared, the first Japanese air squadron came over from the opposite direction, the southeast, flying two miles up, a faintly buzzing swarm of about 40 grey ships in a dazzling blue sky. Faster than anyone could think three things happened. The Japanese power-dived upon Nanking, Chinese anti-aircraft guns on the hills around the capital opened up, and reserve Chinese pursuit fighters took the air, climbing to tear like clawing condors at the Japanese bombers' flanks. The Japanese wing leader signaled with a puff of smoke, all his following bombers let go their loads and zoomed upward to get away, but by a freak four Japanese craft were downed at the same instant, belched smoke and plunged earthward like meteors, streaming flames.

At 11:15 the second wave of Japanese came over, this time from the northwest, bombing the Drum Tower residential section of China's capital. In a total of four hours' bombing, wave on wave, Japanese airmen dropped everything from enormous 500-lb. explosive charges which destroyed whole blocks and rocked the earth, to small, incendiary bombs no bigger than hand grenades, which ignited everything they touched that could possibly be set afire.

Ambassador Johnson on his gunboat in the river had a front seat at the bombing of Nanking's railway station and its Hsiakwan slums along the Yangtze. There Chinese too young, too old, too poor, too sick or too ignorant to have left Nanking were slain in slews. Japanese bombs wrecked and ignited their miserable huts, blew them to bits, seared the living, cremated the dead. Instead of panic or disorder, the reaction of Nanking's wretched poor seemed to be either to cower bemused and trembling or to rush into the streets with yells, curses and fists madly shaken at Japan's war birds. So far as could be learned not a single Chinese of prominence or foreigner had been hurt in Nanking as the vultures swooped away. Laborers at once began filling up holes in the streets, rushed construction of more dugouts. Only a few Chinese government buildings had been damaged, none of importance destroyed, and an improvised earthen dugout at the U. S. Embassy had not been hit by anything, although a Chinese anti-aircraft shell had splintered around the gatehouse. "It's just as safe here as on the river," announced Ambassador Johnson moving his whole staff back into the U. S. Embassy—after which natives of Nanking again beamed at sight of the Stars and Stripes wherever shown, made no more insulting noises or gestures. After inspecting Nanking, military experts opined that unskillfully constructed dugouts which collapsed of themselves had killed about as many Chinese as any one squadron of Japanese bombers.

Next day at 3:30 p.m. a Chinese squadron which had flown 90 miles toward Shanghai engaged 50 Japanese planes on their way to bomb Nanking and fought them so fiercely that they turned back. It was plain as a pikestaff that Japan's airmen had failed either to break Chinese morale at Nanking or to win mastery of the air over the capital. In guarded dispatches Nanking correspondents announced that "mystery planes" and "mystery anti-aircraft guns" were being added to the defenses of Nanking, and the dispatches said these "did not come from the Soviet Union" although Japanese editors hotly charged that they did.

Real American Sentiments?

In Nanking at her desk in the Air Ministry, which she virtually manages, was the wife of China's Generalissimo, deeply pious and distinctly pretty Mme Chiang Kaishek. Her husband was away inspecting the Shanghai front on the day of Japan's first air raid, but he was back in Nanking for all the raids, sky-fighting, fires and bombing which followed on successive days.

Prudent, the Chinese Generalissimo kept his exact whereabouts as secret as possible, but correspondents were spirited to him at intervals for interviews which kept proving to the world that he was still in Nanking and by their logic much distressed such good souls as U. S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull. Citing the Nine-Power Washington Treaty by which the U. S., Britain, France, Japan, Italy, Portugal, Belgium and The Netherlands stand pledged to respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial and administrative integrity of China, Generalissimo Chiang said: "I believe that the present attitude of the United States Government toward the China crisis does not represent the real sentiments or attitude of the American people. . . . Chinese-American friendship being so traditional, and China being bled as she is by an aggressor, I believe the United States ultimately will live up to its obligations under the Nine-Power Pact. So long as the Nine-Power Pact stands, America cannot take an attitude of neutrality toward the present Japanese war of aggression."

Power Dive.

Next day Japanese hurled 80 bombers at Nanking in their biggest raid of the year, raised the week's total of Nanking citizens killed to above 500 and finally succeeded in destroying the Chinese capital's $1,000,000 electric power plant in one of the most spectacular maneuvers of the air war. To make sure his 500-lb. bombs did not miss, the Japanese squadron leader went into an absolutely vertical power dive directly above the plant, let go his bombs at the last agonizing moment when his plane seemed hurtling into the chimneys, then pulled out of his dive and miraculously escaped a score of barking anti-aircraft guns. At latest dispatches the wrecked electric plant was a burnt-out shell, Japanese had bombed two Chinese hospitals, each of which displayed a huge Red Cross, and Nanking's waterworks had been put out of commission, while Japan pressed her war from Suiyuan to Canton in raids and battles dotted clear across China (see below).

* Cabled Associated Press from Tokyo: "A wave of friendship for the United States is sweeping Japan as a result of the evacuation of Nanking by Ambassador Nelson Johnson in compliance with the Japanese warning that the city would be bombed. Newspapers are filled with praise of Mr. Hull, President Roosevelt and Americans generally.''