What Happened to the Rookie Producer of Drinking Solo? “Excessive Work Load and Personal Insult Led to His Death” (Kyunghyang)

TV show that shares challenges and sorrows of young people preparing for a (barely) secure job, and one who produced it killed himself suffering cruel working environment and labor exploitation.

#work_to_death, #labor_exploitation, #tvN_Drinking_Solo #South_Korea

At a press conference at the Francisco Hall in Jeong-dong, Seoul on April 18, Kim Hye-yeong, the mother of the late producer Lee Han-bit cries as she calls for an investigation into the death of her son. Jeong Ji-yun

At a press conference at the Francisco Hall in Jeong-dong, Seoul on April 18, Kim Hye-yeong, the mother of the late producer Lee Han-bit cries as she calls for an investigation into the death of her son. Jeong Ji-yun

The death of a rookie producer of the tvN drama Drinking Solo may have been the result of an excessive work load, personal insults, and the authoritarian culture in the company. The Youth Union and the bereaved family members formed a “committee to resolve the death of the rookie assistant producer of Drinking Solo.” The committee held a press conference on April 18 and demanded that the broadcasting company release the investigation results of the suicide of Lee Han-bit, who died last year, along with an apology and measures to prevent recurrence.
On October 26, 2016, Lee Han-bit (27 at the time), a rookie producer at tvN, a cable channel owned by CJ E&M, was found dead five days after he had gone missing. Lee joined the company in January 2016 and was assigned to the production of Drinking Solo in April. Drinking Solo is a TV drama about the challenges and sorrows of young people preparing for the civil service examination in Noryangjin, Seoul.
At the time, the company said that Lee died due to personal issues. However, when the committee analyzed the conversations on Lee’s KakaoTalk account and his phone calls and interviewed the employees of the partner companies related to the show, the results pointed in another direction.
The committee argued that Lee suffered from work-related stress that was too intense to bear for a rookie assistant producer. The contractor in charge of lighting and photography for Drinking Solo was replaced just before the show’s first episode was to air. This reduced the production period by two weeks. The committee said, “This caused the working environment of the production team to deteriorate profoundly.”
Lee had to oversee various tasks including costumes and props, and he had to organize the set and settle the account. According to his phone records, he was able to take a break for only two days from August 27, 2016 when the shooting resumed until October 20, the day before he was reported missing. During that period, he had made 1,547 calls and is estimated to have slept an average of 4-5 hours a day. Lee also struggled after he was in charge of laying off temporary staff. In his suicide note, he wrote, “The words ‘labor exploitation,’ which the staff mentioned half jokingly, dug into my heart. To them, I’m nothing more than a manager who squeezes out the workers.” The verbal abuse within the production team was also serious. The recordings and KakaoTalk conversations Lee left behind show that the others frequently slandered and spoke profanity towards Lee when having a company dinner or talking in the group chat room.
In the two responses that CJ E&M sent to the committee last December and January, the company said, “There was no abuse or insult of Lee.” In fact, the company went on to state, “According to an internal investigation, the company suffered damages due to Lee’s poor conduct.” The committee refuted, “CJ E&M is driving this issue into a problem of Lee’s personal attitude just based on the statements by the senior producer and the main producer.”
This day, CJ E&M announced, “We express our deepest condolences to the family in pain. If the police or other public authority launches an investigation, we will willingly cooperate.”
Article from:  http://english.khan.co.kr/khan_art_view.html?artid=201704191802387&code=710100#csidx9be276affbb4483ab7395a63b73b6a0

“Miracle Cancer Drug” Gleevec Sales Threatened Following Novartis Rebate Scandal (the Korea Bizwire)

Health Right Network Korea, asserted that MoH immediately suspend reimbursement of the drug, condemning Novartis’ continued illegal kickback to the doctors. Patent on Gleevec expired on 2013, and various generic form are available with much lower price. We, in solidarity with Health Right Network Korea, believe that strict and fir punitive measure for pharmaceutical company’s illegality is necessary, to secure people’s health right in Korea.

(Look at the Statement on http://bit.ly/2p7lZa6)

#Gleevec #Novartis #Rebate_Scandal #reimbursement_suspension #Health_Right_Network

Imposing the measure would discourage the prescription and use of Novartis drugs, and greatly reduce the company’s sales in South Korea. (image: Wikimedia)

Imposing the measure would discourage the prescription and use of Novartis drugs, and greatly reduce the company’s sales in South Korea. (image: Wikimedia)

SEOUL, April 10 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea’s health authorities are considering a suspension of health insurance reimbursement for imatinib, a highly effective leukemia drug sold under the brand name of Gleevec (or Glivec), after its maker Novartis was found to have provided illegal kickbacks to doctors.

The Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company was investigated by prosecutors in February of last year for allegedly providing unlawful rebates to local doctors amounting to 2.59 billion won ($2.62 million). In August, six incumbent and former executives of the company were indicted.

South Korea operates on a two-strike policy for companies providing illicit rebates as a punitive measure. Under the terms of the policy, offending drug companies have insurance reimbursements suspended for their products for a year for first-time violation, and indefinitely if another violation occurs within five years.

Imposing the measure would discourage the prescription and use of Novartis drugs, and greatly reduce the company’s sales in South Korea. But at the same time, it could add a bigger burden to patients willing to continue with the medication, as it would have a high price tag, leaving health authorities in a dilemma.

(image: Novartis)

(image: Novartis)

In fact, representatives from the Korean Leukemia Association petitioned the Ministry of Health and Welfare recently, requesting that it impose a fine on the pharmaceutical company instead of a reimbursement suspension, reported Yonhap News Agency Sunday.

“If the allowances are suspended, patients (using Gleevec) will have to spend an additional 2 million won ($1,749) each month on their medication,” said Ahn Ghi Jong, the head of the KLA. “It is unfair for thousands of patients to suffer from the wrongdoings of Novartis.”

However, those with an opposing view demand that government should stick to its punitive measure, especially since there are other substitute drugs and generic imatinibs for leukemia.

“There are some 30 biosimilar imatinib generics in the market in addition to other new drugs for leukemia treatment. Making exceptions would leave the laws vulnerable to future debate,” said an industry official on condition of anonymity.

Health authorities are leaning towards the latter argument, but they’re still deliberating and gathering more feedback from outside experts. An official from the health ministry said, “The ground rule is to suspend reimbursement, but we are considering whether doing so would have a significant impact on patients.”

By Kevin Lee (kevinlee@koreabizwire.com)


Original article from: http://koreabizwire.com/miracle-cancer-drug-gleevec-sales-threatened-following-novartis-rebate-scandal/80054

1 in 4 Koreans suffer mental illness: survey (Koreaherald)

Is policy assuring psychiatric treatment of mental disease enough for the current mental suffering of Koreans like the article says? What about absence of sickness allowance and societal stigma attached to the mental disease?


One in 4 South Koreans experience mental disorders more than once in their lifetimes, while just one-tenth of the mentally ill seek professional help, according to government data released Wednesday

The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s survey of 5,102 adults showed that about 25 percent of the respondents had suffered mental disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia and alcohol addiction, at least once in their lives. About 12 percent had experienced psychiatric illnesses in the past year.

The study noted that an increasing number of people are diagnosed with depression and the disease is more prevalent among women.


About 5 percent of those surveyed had suffered from depression at least once. The proportion is higher among women at 6.9 percent compared to 3 percent for men.

One in 10 female respondents had experienced postpartum depression, the study showed.

As for schizophrenia, about 1.8 percent had the disorder at least once in their life and 0.5 percent within the past year.

The survey also showed that 75 percent of those who had attempted suicide and 68 percent of those who had planned to do so had experienced a metal disorder.

The survey results come after a recent shocking case involving a schizophrenic teenager kidnapping and killing an 8-year-old girl in Incheon. The incident shed light on the country’s failure to cope with the growing prevalence of mental disorders.

Experts suggested the government should create an environment where patients of mental disorders can receive timely care and treatment, without fear of being sent to hospitals against their will.

Professor Hong Jin-pyo of Samsung Medical Center, who participated in the survey, said “the overall prevalence rate of mental illnesses among Koreans is decreasing compared to previous years,” adding that a growing number of psychiatric treatments at clinics may help reduce the rate.

“But compared to developed countries, South Korea still lacks governmental policies to raise awareness and provide treatment for mentally ill people,” Hong said.

The government has been conducting a nationwide in-depth survey into the mental health of Koreans since 2001. The most recent survey, the fourth of its kind, was conducted from July to November 2016.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)


Original article from : http://bit.ly/2p7l9Ko

South Korea shows improved welfare, declining happiness [hankyoreh]

Country with unhappy, insecure people unsatisfied with their quality of life and social security?
Survey finds South Korean youth among the unhappiest in the world
+ A quarter of elderly people suffer from shame at being in care facilities
+ Survey finds that to be happy, South Koreans need to have work

#welfare_need_unsatisfied #declining_happiness #OECD #South_Korea


Change of welfare levels in South Korea. Data: OECD

OECD data put South Korea at or near the bottom in rankings measuring suicide and fertility rates

South Korea’s overall level of welfare improved slightly over the past five years – which included Park Geun-hye’s four years as president – but perceived happiness among South Koreans fell sharply, a research study shows.

The findings of a comparative study of welfare levels in OECD member countries published on Apr. 5 by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (KIHASA) showed South Korea‘s overall ranking rising two spots from 23 out of 34 countries in 2011 to 21 last year. But in the category of the population’s happiness, it slid from 30 to 33.

For its comparison of welfare levels in OECD countries, KIHASA devised indicators for the five areas of economic vitality, welfare demand, financial sustainability, meeting welfare needs, and people’s happiness. Between 2011 and 2016, South Korea’s scores rose from 0.750 to 0.834 for economic vitality, 0.781 to 0.786 for welfare demand, and 0.775 to 0.879 for financial sustainability. The score for meeting welfare needs remained constant at 0.407. The only one of the five indicators to fall was people‘s happiness, which tumbled from 0.348 to 0.133.

The people’s happiness level is a reflection of factors such as satisfaction with quality of life, transparency of the state, the suicide rate, the total fertility rate, leisure time, and anticipated lifespan from birth. It may be described as showing correspondence between the public’s basic desires and the government response to them.

Among the components of the people’s happiness level, South Korea’s quality of life satisfaction score was 5.8, tying it with Italy in 27. The state transparency level was 26, tying with the Czech Republic at 27. South Korea’s suicide rate of 28.7 per 100,000 people was the highest, while the total fertility rate of 1.21 ranked the lowest. South Korea‘s average of 14.7 hours of leisure time per day ranked it 25, while the anticipated lifespan from birth was 82.2 years, tying for 10 with Israel and Norway.

“While South Korea’s welfare level has risen in terms of its overall ranking, it is failing to keep up with the top-ranking countries in scores that take relative position into account,” KIHASA said. “In particular, there was a serious decline in the people’s happiness rating, which may be seen as a more suitable assessment indicator when defining welfare level through discussions.”

“Future welfare policy will need to focus on improving the individual indicators in the people’s happiness index to increase the public‘s perceptions that they are being served by welfare,” the institute said.

The top five countries examined in terms of overall ranking were all northern European countries: Norway, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Iceland. The bottom-ranking group ranking 30 to 34 included Estonia, Chile, Turkey, Greece, and Mexico.By


Park Ki-yong, staff reporter

Original Article from : http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/789612.html

Experts say measures to prevent smoking can also boost the economy(hankyoreh)

#cigarette_regulation #health_inequality #tabacco_tax_for_healthier_society

“…policies designed to regulate tobacco would help redress the health inequality among low income earners.”

“while various South Korean anti-tobacco policies were having an effect, the most effective of these was increasing the price of tobacco.”

Posted on : Mar.28,2017 17:19 KSTModified on : Mar.28,2017 17:19 KST

At the end of last year, cigarette packs sold in South Korea started to feature imaging warning of the dangers of smoking

Symposium participants argue that increased regulation of tobacco benefits public health of smokers and non-smokers

Experts from South Korea and other countries argue that government intervention is needed in the tobacco industry because there is insufficient information about the risks of smoking and because secondhand smoke is harmful.

An international symposium designed to assess smoking prevention policies and to seek directions for development is scheduled to take place at the InterContinental Seoul COEX in Seoul on Mar. 28. Domestic and foreign experts in the areas of tobacco and smoking prevention held a press conference at the same location on Mar. 27 at which they argued that the government needs to regulate tobacco and that such regulation would promote economic development.

“There is inadequate information, since people don’t know much about the risks of smoking, and tobacco consumption has externalities that harm the health not only of smokers but also of others through secondhand smoke. Since this leads to a market failure and cannot be left to the discretion of the market, from an economic standpoint, government intervention is appropriate,” argued Frank Chaloupka, a professor of economics and health policy at the University of Illinois who was the first speaker at the press conference.

“Regulation of tobacco does not have a negative effect on the economy, but it in fact has a positive effect by reducing medical costs, improving productivity and promoting economic development,” Chaloupka added. He also argued that policies designed to regulate tobacco would help redress the health inequality among low income earners.

“Poor and vulnerable members of the population smoke more cigarettes, which worsens the health gap and health inequality. Regulation of tobacco also helps mitigate this,” Chaloupka said. His proposals for South Korea were to keep strengthening tobacco regulations by increasing the price of tobacco and to invest more of the proceeds of the tobacco tax into the areas of preventing smoking and promoting health.

One of the South Korean experts present was Cho Seong-il, chair of the Korean Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, who argued that while various South Korean anti-tobacco policies were having an effect, the most effective of these was increasing the price of tobacco.

“The biggest effect between 2015 and 2016 came from raising tobacco prices, and this accounted for 89% of the whole,” Cho said, referring to the policy’s effect on reducing the smoking rate. “As time goes by, the influence of raising tobacco prices will be seen in other policies.”

During the symposium on Mar. 28, Katia Campos, a technical officer at the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for the Western Pacific Region, will use a presentation to highlight the six globally proven methods for regulating tobacco: monitoring the use of tobacco, protecting nonsmokers from tobacco smoke, giving smokers assistance, offering warnings about the risk of smoking, banning tobacco advertising and raising taxes on tobacco.

By Kim Yang-joong, medical correspondent

Article from http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/788348.html

Samsung semiconductor worker is first case of female infertility recognized as industrial accident (Hankyoreh)

“A female worker‘s infertility has been recognized as an industrial accident for the first time in South Korean history.”

“27% of 406 female nurses who had handled such substances as having experienced difficulty conceiving; 22.8% as having experienced premature birth, stillbirth, or miscarriage; and 20.2% of having experienced menstrual irregularities. While the stillbirth and miscarriage rate was 13.9% for female workers enrolled in health insurance through their workplace between 2007 and 2015, an analysis for manufacturing in particular found high rates of 16.6% and 16.2% for timber, lumber products, and furniture manufacturing and for rubber and plastic manufacturing, respectively.”

#Samsung #female_infertility_as_occupational_disease #industrial_accident #Korea


Samsung’s semiconductor factory in Giheung, Gyeonggi Province

Data show women who handle toxic chemicals at work more likely to suffer reproductive difficulties, including miscarriages

A female worker‘s infertility has been recognized as an industrial accident for the first time in South Korean history. The decision recognizing the worker’s infertility as an “occupational disease” was significant in coming amid widespread attention to the protection of mothers in response to South Korea’s low birth rate, as well as growing interest in the use of reproduction-toxic substances in workplaces.

The Korea Workers’ Compensation & Welfare Service (K-COMWEL) announced on Mar. 19 that it had granted the request of a 39-year-old surnamed Kim to have her infertility recognized as an occupational disease and treatment benefits paid. Kim worked for 15 years in a production position at a Samsung semiconductors factory in Giheung, Gyeonggi Province.

Kim went to work at Samsung in 1997 after graduating high school. She began undergoing treatment for infertility in 2008, when she was 30 years old. She left the company in 2012 due to a missed miscarriage and other ill health, and filed for industrial accident certification in 2013.“While performing shift work for 15 years as a production employee at a semiconductor plant, [Kim] was exposed, albeit in small quantities, to organic compounds such as ethylene glycol,” K-COMWEL wrote in its occupational disease ruling for Kim. “The causal relationship with her duties is recognized, as the weakening of her physical functions, including diminished immune capabilities as a result of overwork and stress related to long-term shift work, led to her infertility.”

Used in semiconductor plants as a cleaning solution, ethylene glycol is classified as a reproduction-toxic substance that causes birth defects. While infertility and miscarriages were cited as potentially subject to compensation in a 2015 recommendation by the Samsung occupational disease mediation committee, they have not been included in the standards of the company‘s independently formed compensation committee.

Reproduction-toxic substances, or substances with harmful effects on reproduction functions and capabilities and embryo generation and development, have been seen as causing far-reaching damages, as they not only affect the individual suffering exposure but can also cause health problems in the next generation. According to Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency (KOSHA) data, a 2014 working environment survey counted 33,828 female workers with a high risk of exposure to reproduction-toxic factors at workplaces with five or more employees. The number accounted for 6.78% of the 499,194 total female workers in production positions. By occupation, the highest totals were found in leather, handbag, and shoe manufacturing, followed by electronics, textile manufacturing, and food manufacturing.

A Dec. 2016 report published by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea from a survey on the human rights of workers handling reproduction-toxic substances showed 27% of 406 female nurses who had handled such substances as having experienced difficulty conceiving; 22.8% as having experienced premature birth, stillbirth, or miscarriage; and 20.2% of having experienced menstrual irregularities. While the stillbirth and miscarriage rate was 13.9% for female workers enrolled in health insurance through their workplace between 2007 and 2015, an analysis for manufacturing in particular found high rates of 16.6% and 16.2% for timber, lumber products, and furniture manufacturing and for rubber and plastic manufacturing, respectively.

The semiconductor workers’ health and human rights watchdog group Banollim, which represented Kim in her application, released a statement on Mar. 19 expressing “hope that other workers suffering from the same condition will have the courage to carry on with having it recognized as an industrial accident.”

“Suitable government-level measures must be taken for toxic chemicals and other factors threatening the health and lives of semiconductor workers,” the group said.Kim In-ah, an occupational and environmental medicine professor at the Hanyang University College of Medicine, said, “At a time when the low birth rate is becoming a societal issue, the only way to ensure healthy and safe childbirth is through more proactive management and oversight of reproduction-toxic substances.”

“We need active government regulation to prevent female workers who are pregnant or of childbearing age from handling reproduction-toxic substances,”

Kim said.By Park Tae-woo, staff reporter


Original Article: http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_business/787230.html

After “I, Daniel Blake” protest, disabled activists get a bill for building defacement(hankyoreh)

#Framework_Act_on_Social_Security #SADD #Solidarity_against_disability_Discriination #$2,300_for_the_demonstration


Park Gyeong-seok, co-representative of the group Solidarity against Disability Discrimination, spray paints his name on the wall of the Social Security Committee, while calling for passage of an amendment to the Framework Act on Social Security, Feb. 15. (by Kim Jeong-hyo, staff photographer)

Inspired by British movie, activists called for expansion of disability benefits and recognition of their humanity

“You defaced the exterior of our service’s building during the ‘I, Daniel Blake. Welfare in South Korea Today’ event on February 15. We requested [an estimate of] restoration expenses from a professional company and received a reply stating that they would cost 2,717,000 won (US$2,358).”

Park Gyeong-seok, co-representative of the group Solidarity against Disability Discrimination (SADD), received a notice on Feb. 28 from the National Pension Service demanding over US$2,300 in damages for the defacing of its office during a Feb. 15 demonstration.

Park had used red spray paint to write the message “I, Park Gyeong-seok, am a human being, not a dog” on the building, which houses the Social Security Committee. It was a South Korean version of the “I, Daniel Blake” declaration. British director Ken Loach’s film “I, Daniel Blake,” which opened in late 2016, tells of a protagonist who applies for health benefits when a heart ailment leaves him unable to work. Instead of receiving the benefits, he suffers various indignities. At one point, he uses spray paint to write a message on the employment center building reading, “I, Daniel Blake, demand my appeal date [for benefits] before I starve. And change that shite music on the phones.”

Park said he anticipated the request for damages, but added that he was “shocked at the ‘otherizing’ attitude, the way they acted as though welfare issues for disabled people – such as disability class rulings and decisions on recognized points for assistance services – were not their responsibility.”

“They don’t reply at all about the demands I made to the service, but they send a notice focusing only on the fact that the building was defaced. . . .”

With its Feb. 15 demonstration, SADD demanded that the National Pension Service expand its welfare services for disabled persons and called for passage of an amendment to the Framework Act on Social Security to revise the consultation and coordination system between the central and provincial governments. Assistance services for disabled persons were reduced or halted for some local governments after the government’s Social Security Committee (chaired by the Prime Minister) decided in 2015 to demand local governments throughout South Korea fully reexamine their social security systems as part of a plan for “improved social services finance efficiency.”

The National Pension Service has demanded payment of the damages by Mar. 15, warning that it would pursue legal action if they are not paid in full.

“We need to share how conditions really are for disabled people, even if it’s like this,” Park said.“Look at how much humiliation disabled people suffer as human beings under a system created by the state and the institutions enforcing it,” he added.


By Ko Han-sol, staff reporter

Article from : http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/785107.html

Cigarette sales drop for 3 straight months (Korea herald)

#tobacco_control_policy #pictorial_health_warnings 
Sales of cigarettes in South Korea fell for three straight months in February, following the government’s push to imprint health warning graphics on packages, government data showed Monday.

Some 240 million packs of cigarettes were sold last month, down 14 percent from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.

The monthly sales have been on a decline since November last year, when 290 million packs were sold.

The ministry attributed the sales drop to a government-led anti-smoking campaign.


Article from : http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20170313001028

Around one-quarter of South Koreans stuck in low-wage work (hankyoreh)

More women than men in low-wage work, and despite increase, South Korea’s welfare spending still roughly half OECD average

Around one-quarter of South Korean wage earners are engaged in low-wage work, a percentage that has remained virtually unchanged with just a 0.5 percentage point drop in the past 10 years, a study shows.South Korea’s public and social welfare expenditures were also found to be just half the average for OECD member countries.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare announced the findings as part of a report titled “Social Security Viewed through Statistics 2016” published on Mar. 2. The social security statistics consist of 162 representative indicators in areas such as family, health, work, employment security, poverty, and environment.
The findings published on Mar. 2 showed 23.7% of workers in low-wage jobs, the third highest rate in the OECD after Ireland the US. The indicator is a representation of wage inequality, with higher percentages of low-wage workers signifying not only labor market inequality but a greater likely of working poverty.The category of low-wage workers includes those earning less than two-thirds the median salary for all wage earners. By 2014 standards, it represented an hourly wage below 6,712 won (US$5.84), or approximately 1.4 million won (US$1,220) per month.
The rate of low-wage employment was far higher for women than men by a margin of 37.8% to 15.4% – a number attributable to the large percentage of female workers in low-income industries such as hospitality and restaurants or in irregular positions. The percentage of workers in low-wage jobs was also down by only 0.5 percentage points from the 24.2% recorded in 2004, indicating almost no improvement in the preceding decade.
South Korea’s public and social welfare spending was found to remain at a low level. In 2014, South Korea spent 10.4% of GDP on public and social welfare, or roughly half the 21% average for the OECD’s 30 member countries.At the same time, the Ministry of Health and Welfare noted, “While the OECD average increased by 0.98% a year from 2000 to 2016, South Korea’s annual rate of increase in public and social welfare spending over the same period was high at 5.4%.”The rate of national Basic Livelihood Benefits payment was calculated at 3.2% for 2015, with 16,460,000 beneficiaries. The rate showed almost no increase from 2001, when it stood at 3%.
By Hwangbo Yon, staff reporter

South Korea takes down website that maps its most fertile female citizens

#gender, #fertile_female_map, #lowest_birth_rate, #sexist_government_of_South_Korea

Feminist campaigners are not happy about the pink-coloured map

South Korea has taken down a website showing where its most fertile female citizens live within hours of it going live.

The pink-coloured map showed users where there were the most women aged 15 to 49 as part of the government’s drive to reverse a flagging birth rate.

But a storm of criticism led it to deactivate the site while it undergoes corrections. People had complained that it treated the birth rate as a problem that only related to women, because there were no pictures of men on the site.

Feminist campaigner Lee Min-kyung, 24, said: “I felt so angered that it blatantly showed how the government saw women’s bodies as the country’s reproductive tools.”

South Korean ministers said the website “was established to encourage local governments to learn and compare other governments’ benefits and to promote free competition”.

Users could also check what benefits local authorities could give them if they had a child, the average marriage age and other information.

The country has tried a number of methods to boost the birth rate, including cracking down on illegal abortions and turning off lights in office buildings early to encourage workers to head home.

South Korea has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, significantly lower than it was 50 years ago. Officials fear a shrinking workforce will hit economic growth.


Original article from http://ind.pn/2hCeXbK