Dokdo Rescue Excites Japanese

貨物船に浸水、14人救助 能登半島沖の日本海

A relatively restrained Japanese commentator observes:

Actually, there is nothing exceptional about this incident. It was rather routine really. A Cambodian freight ship sprang a leak and called for assistance. Some soldiers stationed on a isolated island outpost got the distress code and relayed the message to neighboring countries where upon a naval helicopter was dispatched and saved all the crew members transporting them to safety. In all fairness, this was standard operating procedure.
So why the headlines? Firstly, the military outpost that got the SOS was the disputed Takeshima Islands/Liancourt Rocks and the soldiers stationed there were Korean military. Secondly, the naval helicopter that rushed to the rescue was of the Japanese Maritime Defense Force. Adding insult to injury, the winter winds that blow from west to east would have meant that it would have been easier for a Korean helicopter to reach the sinking ship than a Japanese helicopter flying against the 20m/sec wind.
Nice to know all the crew members survived. Bad day for Koreans though. Japanese reactionaries are not going easy on an opportunity to laugh their heads off.

Regardless of the funny side of the the incident, any helicopter pilot would tell you that it is sometimes better to fly upwind while empty (and therefore downwind with the rescued passengers) than the opposite.

You know that you are getting old when ….

You know that you are getting old when ….

The Korean girl stays beside you in the street.

You know the feeling – you are walking along the lonely beach with your young friend, there is nobody in sight and she is beside you, about a foot away, about an inch away, about minus one inch away, she’s holding your hand, she’s … Shortly you are off the dry sand onto the wet sand, now your shoes are getting wet. So you guide her back to a parallel course and the process repeats and repeats again. Repeats, that is, until anyone comes into view. That distant figure might be a Korean man who could rebuke her for degrading herself with a foreigner. In an instant she is back in her place two metres behind. The same walking a girl home at night: she stays so close that you feel about to fall off the kerb, but if anyone appears then back two metres. She does not want to be seen as the mistress of a blue-eyed monster.

Well the other day I was taking a friendly young Korean university student to her first day at a language school in the city. Walking down George Street I felt that something was out of place. There she was: giggling and smiling beside me, not in the standard Korean girl’s public following position. The thought that other Koreans might take her for my mistress had not occurred to her.

Perhaps I am now old enough to be safe.

Japan goes on the defensive

World Naval Developments – June 2014, by Norman Friedman

Late in June Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that Japan would modify its military policy to make contributions to collective defence permissible.

In the past, the ‘Peace Constitution’ has been interpreted to prohibit anything but direct self-defence, which is why the Japanese military is the Self-Defence Force (at one time even the right to self-defence was questioned by some Japanese). Mr. Abe outlined four possible scenarios for such action, including assisting the United States against both ballistic missile attack and attacks on US warships.

The idea of collective defence goes much further. It might include the creation of a Far Eastern collective defence organization of like-minded governments. The Japanese have already decided that they can sell arms to countries not engaged in war. The combination of Mr. Abe’s declaration and the arms sales decision might enable Japan to build a kind of Far Eastern NATO. That would not be irrational for the Japanese, considering that Japan depends heavily on seaborne traffic, much of it moving through South Asian waters.

For some time proponents of a more active Japanese military stance have pointed out that modern technology makes it more and more difficult to distinguish between offense and defence, and between defence mounted entirely from Japanese soil and collective defence in more forward areas. For example, many of North Korea’s missiles seem to be aimed at Japan as much as at South Korea. However effective a Japanese missile defence shield may be, attacking some of these missiles at source might be a valuable form of defence.

Similarly, Japan depends on seaborne imports for her survival. Convoy operations may seem to be the appropriate form of defence, but it is not clear that they would be entirely effective against fast nuclear submarines. In that case, the best defence might be to attack the enemy’s submarines somewhere closer to their bases. Would such operations be offensive or defensive? If Japan’s US ally were conducting them, would Japanese participation be appropriate or even necessary? As Chinese military power grows, at what point should Japan take up more of the burden of measures which ultimately protect her?

The US government, which has long hoped that Japan would take a more active role in defending the Far East, applauded Abe’s action. Japan is already involved in the US ballistic missile defence program, and Japanese ships have participated in maneuvers alongside the US Navy. The Japanese have also provided valuable logistical support, for example in the Middle East. Japanese policy has gradually expanded the definition of direct defence of the country.

For example, Japan accepted that maritime defence had to extend out to at least 1000 nm, and that in turn justified the construction of helicopter-carrying destroyers, the latest of which are clearly helicopter (and perhaps STOVL) carriers. A realist contemplating the Chinese navy would have to point out that the potential threat to Japanese shipping includes missile-carrying bombers as well as submarines. During the Cold War the US Navy concluded that missile-armed surface ships were not enough to deal with the analogous Soviet threat. Carrier-borne fighters were essential. Japan may be edging towards building carriers. Would they be offensive or defensive? Is the distinction meaningful?

The Chinese were predictably furious at Mr. Abe’s announcement. Japan is the only Far Eastern country which has the resources to stand up to the growing Chinese military machine. If economics were the sole determinant in forming alliances, and if only a Chinese threat mattered, Japan would become the core of a Far Eastern alliance including India, Australia, and Korea.

Early in the Cold War the US Government tried to create a Pacific equivalent of NATO anchored on Japan. In fact, Japan was and is proportionately far more powerful in the Far East than Germany was and is in Europe. The idea failed because proposed alliance members (Australia and the Philippines) were more worried about a resurgent Japan than about the apparently more abstract threats posed by Mao’s China and Stalin’s Soviet Union. Even South Korea, which really had felt the effect of Communist aggression, was unwilling to join with its former occupier. The brutalities of the past were just too close. As recently as 2012, the Korean government found that popular pressure blocked an agreement to share intelligence with Japan. The South Korean government was notably unhappy at Mr. Abe’s announcement.

The problem lies in the past, and in the uses different governments make of it. By the end of World War II, the Japanese were saying that they had fought a just war to liberate Asia from Western colonialism. Many of those they had liberated had fared rather badly during the war; the Japanese were at least as brutal as those they displaced. However, when the war ended, in some places the Japanese handed over power to anti-colonial movements. They can, for example, take considerable credit for the emergence of Indonesia and Vietnam as independent countries. This just-war message is displayed in detail at Yasukuni, the Japanese war memorial.

Those badly victimized by Japan during the war find this less than palatable. Wartime Japanese brutality may be explainable by the exigencies of war, but Koreans remember 40 years of Japanese colonial rule, culminating in horrific atrocities. In recent years they have been particularly infuriated by Japanese refusal to apologize for the forced prostitution of hundreds of thousands of Korean women during World War II.

The Chinese situation is no happier. World War II in the Far East began with Japanese invasions of Manchuria and then of China proper. In China the Japanese committed numerous atrocities, beginning with the Rape of Nanking. Ultimately the war cost at least 15 million Chinese lives. The struggle against Japan holds particular significance for the current Chinese Communist government. It has long used the war as a unifying national theme, claiming that the wartime Communists were particularly effective in resisting the Japanese. It seems that Chinese nationalism, as symbolized by the fight against Japan, has been promoted particularly actively in the quarter-century since the Tien-an-Men Square massacre (June 1989, with related massacres in other Chinese cities). It does not help that Prime Minister Abe has visited Yasakuni (despite, incidentally, US government advice not to go). The Japanese argue that Yasakuni is a privately-run museum and shrine, hence does not reflect official policy.

It seems unlikely that the Japanese will retreat under Chinese pressure. Presumably the Chinese are looking for ways to preclude the formation of a Japanese-led anti-Chinese alliance. They may see South Korean hatred for Japan as a valuable fulcrum. At one time, Koreans felt dependent on the United States to stave off the North Koreans. Given their very considerable economic strength, they are increasingly independent-minded. For example, for years US policy was deliberately to limit the ranges of South Korean missiles, for fear that the South Koreans might turn their attention to their old enemy, Japan.

In recent years the South Koreans have broken free of US-sponsored limits. Ironically, some of their missiles are described as relatives of Russian weapons; the Russians sold weapons to Korea because they owed South Korea so much hard currency. The irony is that Russia is also the main weapon supplier to North Korea. In 2015 South Korea is to take over command of the joint UN (mainly Korean and US) force in that country.

Reportedly the South Koreans are developing a pre-emptive concept called ‘Kill Chain,’ which they see as a deterrent against a North Korean attack. Anyone looking at the possibility of a Chinese-South Korean alignment might ponder the visit of the current Chinese President to Seoul without any visit to Pyongyang. In the past, Chinese Presidents have certainly visited Seoul – but they have been careful to visit North Korea first.
What should we do? We certainly do not want the Chinese to run us out of the Far East, as they appear to want to do. That requires that we reassure our friends in that vast area. We typically imagine that countries are either on our side, neutral, or hostile. That omits the possibility, which the Korean and Japanese cases illustrate so well, that countries friendly with us may wish to erase each other. We are already familiar with this sort of situation in the Middle East, but it is much more universal than we may imagine. How do we sustain a necessary degree of power in an area without being crippled by local enmities?

Air-Sea Battle proposals often include dispersal of US ground-based combat aircraft throughout the Far East, so that they are difficult to destroy on the outbreak of war. That may or may not be a very good idea. For example, dispersed aircraft entail disproportionately high support costs. Modern ground bases are not so easy to conceal, and they don’t move at high speed. What typically is not taken into account is the politics of such dispersal. Placing military assets on someone else’s soil requires his permission. Governments usually extract a veto on operations undertaken from their soil. In 1986, US bombers based in the United Kingdom were deployed in a strike against Libya. British permission apparently was not sought, and the result was a much-reduced US air footprint in the UK – and rules which made it impossible to repeat a unilateral strike.

Perhaps it is time to remember that our naval forces are sovereign territory, the only kind from which strikes of any kind can be mounted without someone else’s permission. Carrier battle groups are hardly inexpensive, but it is well to remember a history of governments denying us the use of bases on their territory. Again and again our experience has been that once we show that we can act unilaterally, other governments (in whose interest it would be to act) decide to join us. That was certainly the case during both Gulf Wars. When we applaud Mr. Abe’s initiative to join in collective defence, it may be well to understand that he may see participation as valuable leverage. To the extent that he provides essential support, he can help decide what we can and cannot do. The same might be said of others in the region, such as the Koreans.

*Norman Friedman is author of The Naval Institute Guide to World Naval Weapon Systems

Filipino woman and sons win paternity suit in Seoul

June 24,2014

The Seoul Family Court on Sunday ruled in favor of a Philippine woman and her two sons in a paternity suit against the children’s South Korean father, officially acknowledging their biological connection.

The court accepted the blood relationship between the Korean man and his Kopino children – a term that refers to a child born out of wedlock to a Philippine mother and a Korean father – based on DNA test results and the boys’ birth certificates.

The ruling is the first of its kind here and is likely to have broader implications for the tens of thousands of abandoned Kopino children who exist outside the country.

Kopino children, also called “Korinoy” in Filipino slang, are mostly born between Philippine women and Korean men who travel to Southeast Asia for business or study.

The majority of Kopino children are neglected or abandoned by their fathers, a trend that has resulted in the use of the term “ugly Korean” by locals, and left the mothers of the babies with few options. The Philippines is a predominantly Catholic country and abortion there is illegal.

In the paternity suit, the Seoul Family Court’s Judge Kwon Yang-hee concluded that the Philippine woman’s 16-year-old and 14-year-old sons were the biological children of the Korean defendant.

The names of all parties in the suit were withheld for privacy.

The Korean man was already married and had two children in Korea when he moved alone to the Philippines in 1997 for business, where he cohabited with the woman for seven years and fathered the two boys. In 2004, however, he abruptly returned to Korea and severed all contact.

But the woman flew to Korea with the man’s picture and name, and managed to locate him in 2012. With assistance from the Emergency Support Center for Migrant Women, she filed a paternity suit for her children in December the same year.

The defendant initially refused DNA testing, arguing that it would destroy his family in Korea, but relented under the threat of a court-ordered injunction and fine. Once the ruling is finalized, the plaintiffs will be entitled to child support. The children will also be included on the man’s official family register.

According to civic groups, the number of Kopino children has increased rapidly in recent years, making it an issue of growing concern. The exact number of Kopino children is difficult to pinpoint, but Ecpat International, a global network of organizations dedicated to protecting children, estimates that there are about 30,000.

BY SHIM SAE-ROM, KIM BONG-MOON [[email protected]]


Sometimes Korean officialdom does get something right!

The Korean grandmothers who sell sex

The Korean grandmothers who sell sex
By Lucy Williamson BBC News, Seoul

Koreans could once be sure that their children would look after them in their old age, but no longer – many of those who worked hard to transform the country’s economy find the next generation has other spending priorities. As a result, some elderly women are turning to prostitution.

Kim Eun-ja sits on the steps at Seoul’s Jongno-3 subway station, scanning the scene in front of her. The 71-year-old’s bright lipstick and shiny red coat stand out against her papery skin.

Beside her is a large bag, from which comes the clink of glass bottles as she shifts on the cold concrete.

Mrs Kim is one of South Korea’s “Bacchus Ladies” – older women who make a living by selling tiny bottles of the popular Bacchus energy drink to male customers.

But often that’s not all they’re selling. At an age when Korean grandmothers are supposed to be venerated as matriarchs, some are selling sex.
“You see those Bacchus Ladies standing over there?” she asks me. “Those ladies sell more than Bacchus. They sometimes go out with the grandpas and earn money from them. But I don’t make a living like that.

“Men do proposition me when I’m standing in the alleyway,” she adds. “But I always say, ‘No.'”

Mrs Kim says she makes about 5,000 Won ($5, or £3) a day selling the drinks. “Drink up fast,” she says. “The police are always watching me. They don’t differentiate.”

The centre of this underground sex trade is a nearby park in the heart of Seoul. Jongmyo Park is a place where elderly men come to while away their sunset years with a little chess and some local gossip.

It’s built around a temple to Confucius, whose ideas on venerating elders have shaped Korean culture for centuries. But under the budding trees outside, the fumbling transactions of its elderly men and women tell the real story of Korean society in the 21st Century.

Women in their 50s, 60, even their 70s, stand around the edges of the park, offering drinks to the men. Buy one, and it’s the first step in a lonely journey that ends in a cheap motel nearby.

The men in the park are more willing to talk to me than the women.

Standing around a game of Korean chess, a group of grandfathers watch the match intently. About half the men here use the Bacchus Ladies, they say.

“We’re men, so we’re curious about women,” says 60-year-old Mr Kim.

“We have a drink, and slip a bit of money into their hands, and things happen!” he cackles. “Men like to have women around – whether they’re old or not, sexually active or not. That’s just male psychology.”

Another man, 81 years old, excitedly showed me his spending money for the day. “It’s for drinking with my friends,” he said. “We can find girlfriends here, too – from those women standing over there. They’ll ask us to play with them. They say, ‘Oh, I don’t have any money,’ and then they glue on to us. Sex with them costs 20,000 to 30,000 Won (£11-17), but sometimes they’ll give you a discount if they know you.”

South Korea’s grandparents are victims of their country’s economic success.

As they worked to create Korea’s economic miracle, they invested their savings in the next generation. In a Confucian society, successful children are the best form of pension.

But attitudes here have changed just as fast as living standards, and now many young people say they can’t afford to support themselves and their parents in Korea’s fast-paced, highly competitive society.

The government, caught out by this rapid change, is scrambling to provide a welfare system that works. In the meantime, the men and women in Jongmyo Park have no savings, no realistic pension, and no family to rely on. They’ve become invisible – foreigners in their own land.

“Those who rely on their children are stupid,” says Mr Kim. “Our generation was submissive to our parents. We respected them. The current generation is more educated and experienced, so they don’t listen to us.

“I’m 60 years old and I don’t have any money. I can’t trust my children to help. They’re in deep trouble because they have to start preparing for their old age. Almost all of the old folks here are in the same situation.”

Most Bacchus women have only started selling sex later in life, as a result of this new kind of old-age poverty, according to Dr Lee Ho-Sun, who is perhaps the only researcher to have studied them in detail.

One woman she interviewed first turned to prostitution at the age of 68. About 400 women work in the park, she says, all of whom will have been taught as children that respect and honour were worth more than anything.

“One Bacchus woman said to me ‘I’m hungry, I don’t need respect, I don’t need honour, I just want three meals a day,” Lee says.

Police, who routinely patrol the area but are rarely able to make an arrest, privately say this problem will never be solved by crackdowns, that senior citizens need an outlet for stress and sexual desire, and that policy needs to change.

But law-enforcement isn’t the only problem.

Inside those bags the Bacchus Ladies carry is the source of a hidden epidemic: a special injection supposed to help older men achieve erections – delivered directly into the vein. Dr Lee confirms that the needles aren’t disposed of afterwards, but used again – 10 or 20 times.

The results, she says, can be seen in one local survey, which found that almost 40% of the men tested had a sexually transmitted disease¬ despite the fact that some of the most common diseases weren’t included in the test. With most sex education classes aimed at teenagers, this has the makings of a real problem. Some local governments have now begun offering sex education clinics especially for seniors.

Hidden in a dingy warren of alleyways in central Seoul, is the place where these lonely journeys end – the narrow corridors of a “love motel” and one of the grey rooms which open off them.

Inside, a large bed takes up most of the space, its thin mattress and single pillow hardly inviting a long night’s sleep. On the bed-head is a sticker: for room service press zero; for pornography press three; and if you want the electric blanket, you’ll find the wire on the far side of the bed.

So here you have food, sex, and even a little warmth all at the touch of a button. If only it were that simple outside the motel room, in South Korea’s rich, hi-tech society.

But for the grandparents who built its fearsome economy, food is expensive, sex is cheap, and human warmth rarely available at any price.

Listen to Lucy Williamson’s report for Assignment on the BBC World Service on Thursday – or catch up later on the BBC iPlayer

Follow @BBCNewsMagazine on Twitter and on Facebook

(Original story with photos and ads here: BBC)

Huge Korean bar fails to respect local customs in Cebu

Cops raid Mactan KTV bar; 8 girls, 35 women rescued


7:41 am | Friday, January 20th, 2012
Police rescued 35 women and eight girls working in a KTV bar in Lapu-Lapu City last Wednesday.

Three suspected pimps, a cashier and a Korean manager were arrested after law enforcers barged into White Castle KTV past 10 a.m.

Charges for violating Republic Act 9208 or the Anti- trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 will be filed against them today.

An undercover policeman was used to act as a client.

Some foreign customers were waiting in the three-story building when police raiders arrived at White Castle KTV bar, which is about 200 meters from the Mactan Cebu International Airport.

Since some of the victims are minors, the offense falls under “qualified trafficking” which is nonbailable if evidence against them is strong.

The special law’s confidentiality provisions prohibit the identification of both the victims and the accused in the media.

Police agents were accompanied by representatives of the Department of Justice, the Regional Intelligence Division of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas and the Regional Anti-Human Task Force.

The females were turned over to the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Central Visayas (DSWD-7).

The minors were aged 16 to 18 while the women are in their early 20s.

Their age was determined through their dental features but the DSWD-7 still has to check their birth certificates.

The International Justice Mission (IJM) is helping law enforcers prepare the complaint against the suspects.

The arrested persons declined to give a statement to Cebu Daily News and are detained for now in the Waterfront Police Station in Cebu City.

Senior Insp. Maria Theresa Macatangay said the RID received reports that White Castle KTV housed victims of human trafficking.

Police surveillance operations began November last year.

She said the sexual services of the females were offered to customers for P4,000 to P5,000.

The special law prohibits the “recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring, or receipt of persons with or without the victim’s consent or knowledge… for the purpose of exploitation, prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation….”

The victims came from various parts of the country, including Cebu, Manila, Davao and Subic.

“They were just passive,” Macatangay said when asked about how the girls responded in the raid.

Shalaine Marie Sun-Lucero, chief of the operations division of DSWD-7, said the victims refused to be interviewed by the media.

“We let them pour out their emotions. They were angry that they were rescued. That’s normal. They are properly secued by DSWD,” Lucero told CDN.

When asked about their work inside the KTV bar, the victims, who were dressed in skimpy clothes, they just told social workers. “Naa ra mi diri (We’re just here).”

“I won’t dwell on their clothing. What is important is they were rescued,” Lucero said.

She said the adult females will be eventually released while the DSWD evaluates the minors

“We have to make an assessment. We will take into consideration the ability of parents to take care of the child,” she said.

The government has to make sure that the victims won’t go back to work in bars, she said.

IJM Cebu field office director Andrey Sawchenko hailed the first operation against human trafficking for this year.

“The cooperative action by the PNP, DOJ, and DSWD, sends a strong message that the trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation will not be tolerated in 2012,” he said.

Four prosecutors were present during the operation-Regional State Prosecutor Fernando Gubalane and Cebu City Assistant Prosecutors Liceria Rabillas, Maria Luisa Ratilla, and Simaco Labata.


Our comment:  I went past this place last Wednesday on the way from the airport. It is high and wide, set back from the road like an old townhall and yes, it is painted white. Mactan Island is a major resort for Koreans wanting to learn English with an American accent, and also for young families who seem to be well contained in secure resorts like the Imperial Hotel. Koreans operate many businesses on this island. However the operators of the castle seem not to have been well briefed on a couple of important aspects of Filipino culture:

1. Although the traditional Filipino idea of “underage” differs from that of western funded charities, there are limits that they do respect, particularly in public; and

2. Every successful business must be prepared to share its proceeds with the local officials. That is the Filipino way. Failure to comply will lead to harassment by means legal, as in this case, or illegal with official impunity (as in the unrelated case of the murder of Jun Arrogante in Daanbantayan

Other Korean businesses do comply and can achieve all sorts of magic in the Philippines. For example last Monday we were on Luzon driving back from Pagsanjan in the usual slow (about 45 kph) traffic when we were passed by two motorcycle policemen dressed in black waving the oncoming traffic to the side, then followed two tour coaches driving at about 80 kph taking the a whole lane on the wrong side. Naturally we fell in behind for while. Both coaches were from Anju tours. Money talks here.