Earthquake occurred just around 50 km from high concentration of nuke plants(hankyoreh)

Earthquake occurred just around 50 km from high concentration of nuke plants

#earthquake #nuclear_safety #Civic_Action_against_nuclear_power #Korea

As government pushes to build more reactors in densely populated area, civic groups seeking tighter safety checks

Capable fault lines and nuclear reactors in Busan, Ulsan, South Gyeongsang. Data: Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co.

The epicenter of the 5.0-magnitude earthquake that occurred in waters off the coast of Ulsan on the evening of July 5 was only 50 or 60 kilometers away from the Kori and Shin Kori and the Wolsong nuclear power complexes, which are the greatest concentration of nuclear power plants in the world. The proximity of the earthquake to these nuclear plants is increasing concerns about the safety of South Korea’s nuclear power industry. Given studies that suggest the Korean Peninsula is vulnerable to earthquakes up to 7.5 in magnitude, there are calls for the nuclear reactor safety standards to be strengthened.

“The earthquake that occurred in waters east of Ulsan on July 5 is believed to have been caused by a 1-kilometer break in a strike-slip fault at a depth of 10 kilometers,” the Korea Meteorological Administration and the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) announced on July 6.

“Earthquakes frequently occur in the waters off Ulsan, but you couldn’t say that this earthquake resulted from specific conditions,” said Seon Chang-guk, KIGAM’s chief of earthquake disaster research.

“For a big earthquake to occur, there has to be a series of smaller earthquakes along a certain fault line. Since we are not seeing a linear alignment in the earthquakes occurring around the epicenter, this should not be taken as a sign of a bigger earthquake,” said Ji Heon-cheol, chief of KIGAM’s seismic research center.

But given repeated studies showing that the strongest earthquake that can occur on the Korean Peninsula would have a magnitude of 7.5, the possibility of a major earthquake cannot be ruled out.

In 2001, Kim Seong-gyun, professor emeritus at Chonnam National University, estimated that the greatest possible earthquake on the Korean Peninsula would have a magnitude of 7.14±0.34. In 2014, Hong Tae-gyeong, a professor of earth system science at Yonsei University, made an estimate of 7.45±0.04.

“Since Korea is located where the neighboring tectonic plates are pushing along an east-west axis, there have always been a large number of capable faults,” said Oh Chang-hwan, a professor of earth and environmental science at Chonbuk National University. “It takes longer for the Eurasian Plate to build up energy than in Japan, but that doesn‘t mean that a large earthquake couldn’t occur.”

Studies show that about 60 capable faults are distributed around Busan, Ulsan and Gyeongju – which also happens to be where a total of 16 nuclear reactors are concentrated (including reactors that are planned but not yet built).

The epicenter of the earthquake that just occurred near Ulsan is 51 kilometers away from the Wolsong nuclear plant, where six nuclear reactors and a waste disposal facility are in operation. The epicenter is also 65 kilometers from the Kori and Shin Kori nuclear power complexes, where six nuclear reactors (including Kori No. 1) are currently running and where four more reactors are supposed to be built.

There are only 11 sites (6%) in the world where six or more nuclear reactors are clustered together, and all of South Korea‘s nuclear reactors are located in this area.

“These nuclear reactors, which are located in the part of the Korean Peninsula with the most frequent earthquakes and the greatest distribution of capable faults, are designed to withstand earthquakes up to the 6.5- to 6.9-magnitude range. But that’s 20 to 30 times weaker than the seismic energy in a 7.5-magnitude earthquake, which is the greatest expected magnitude,” said Yang-Lee Won-yeong, who leads the energy and climate team at the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement.

A team of researchers from the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology published an article in the June issue of “Geosciences Journal” contending that the Ilgwang Fault, located near the Shin Kori reactor, is connected to a capable fault off the coast of Busan, which means that it might be a large-scale capable fault.

“The earthquake-proof values refer to the Richter-scale magnitude that the reactors are designed to withstand assuming that the earthquake occurs 10km immediately below them. Considering that there is virtually no chance of an earthquake occurring immediately below the reactors, the current earthquake-proof design is at a very high level,” said Cho Seok-jin, press liaison with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP).

On Wednesday, civic groups from the Busan and Ulsan areas called for a complete and thorough assessment of the safety of nuclear plants and demanded that the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission revoke its approval for plans to build Reactors No. 5 and No. 6 at the Shin Kori complex in Eulju County, part of the Ulsan metropolitan area.

“The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission and the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety either excluded capable faults from the earthquake risk assessment or failed to even investigate them when they allowed Wolsong No. 1 to be restarted and when they approved the construction of Shin Kori No. 5 and No. 6,” said two civic groups called Busan Civic Solidarity Against Nuclear Power and Ulsan Joint Civic Action Against Nuclear Power.

Rep. Kim Jong-hun and Rep. Yun Jong-oh, independent lawmakers who represent Ulsan in the National Assembly, also issued a joint statement in which they demanded that a detailed investigation of undersea faults be carried out immediately. “Geologists believe that this earthquake occurred on the Tsushima-Goto Fault, which is an capable fault, and that a bigger earthquake could occur there,” the two lawmakers said.

By Lee Keun-young, senior staff writer, Kim Kyu-won, staff reporter, Kim Young-dong and Sin Dong-myeong, Ulsan correspondents

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

South Koreans no longer count on upward mobility for their children(hankyoreh)

South Koreans no longer count on upward mobility for their children

#social_mobility #inequality #Korea #멍멍꿀꿀


Long-term survey finds growing pessimism about hard work as a way of improving social status across generations

Comparison of views on inter and intra-generational social mobility. Respondents with optimistic views (Unit: %)

The results of recent research show that most members of South Korean society do not expect themselves or their children’s generation to be able to raise their social status.

Statistics Korea collected and analyzed data from more than 200,000 people surveyed in a study conducted from 1999 to 2015. The study is particularly noteworthy as a rare academic attempt to read society’s “awareness of possibilities” by means of long-term time series data. In a paper titled “South Koreans’ Thinking about Upward Mobility: Focusing on the Effects of Age, Period, and Cohorts,” presented jointly at a conference held by the Korean Sociological Association, Lee Wang-won, a researcher at Korea University’s Center for Applied Cultural Sciences, and Kim Moon-jo, professor emeritus of sociology, summarized their findings by saying, “Everywhere in South Korean society we find that people believe that no matter how hard an individual works, he cannot better his social status, and furthermore, neither will his children.”

The research team used the results of the survey of people’s thinking about intergenerational and intragenerational upward mobility. The questionnaire used included such queries as: “Is it possible for a member of our society to raise his or her socio-economic status by working hard at it?” “To what degree do you think the next generation can raise its socio-economic status to a level higher than that of the parents’ generation?” The first question focuses on the effectiveness of individual effort, while the second seeks to learn what expectations respondents have for changes is the distribution of resources. The researchers said, “These items are important because they show the individual’s awareness of and interpretation of social structure and milieu.” Of the data, the research team analyzed a sample of 224,715 respondents aged 18 to 80.

The 15-year average of those who thought that intragenerational upward mobility is possible was 29.4 percent, meaning that since 1999, only about one in three South Koreans have been optimistic about that possibility, while more than two-thirds did not believe it was possible. There was little change in these attitudes over the 15-year period. In terms of age groups, respondents in their early 20s who were still in university or had just graduated, and were thus less worldly-wise, were the most optimistic, whereas the number of those with a positive attitude about upward mobility decreased with age.

On the other hand, the 15-year average of those who thought that intergenerational upward mobility is possible was a considerably higher 40.6 percent. The researchers say, “This means that about 40 percent of Koreans, even after the financial crisis of 1997, believed that their children would be able to reach a higher status than they had.” The percentage of respondents who said their children would be better off reached a peak of 48 percent in 2009, right after the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, but afterwards the figure dropped steeply, falling to 32 percent in 2015, meaning that only about a third of Koreans think the next generation will be better off than themselves.

The difference in expectations for intragenerational versus intergenerational upward mobility has diminished over time, and the two figures are now converging. This gradual convergence began in 2006 and in recent years the fluctuations in the two trends have been similar, with both of them dropping continuously since 2008. This seems to indicate that even those whose attitude about their children’s generation had been positive right after the financial crisis have come to have greater doubts.

The researchers say, “We can infer that people lost faith in the possibility of upward mobility during the long slump that came after the initial upbeat outlook for the economy after the 2008 crisis.”

The researchers are particularly concerned about today’s youth, who pessimistically talk of abandoning their ambition for many things and even resigning themselves to remaining at the level of their parents’ generation. As a frustrated, depressed generation that has lost hope for the future, they need to “think deeply about the ill effect their negative attitude about upward mobility is having on South Korean society.” If all means of raising one’s social status have been obliterated from South Korean society, we need to ask ourselves whether this might not mean that we have already set out an a path that leads back to feudalism. We should think deeply about what could await us at the end of such a path.

By Kang Hee-cheol, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

A ‘bloody’ performance against the high price of sanitary pads(Hankyoreh)

A ‘bloody’ performance against the high price of sanitary pads(Hankyoreh)

#sanitary_pad_performance #revolting_sanitary_pad? #gender_equity

 

Sanitary pads smeared with paint the color of blood were put up on the street near the tourist district of Insadong in Seoul, by women who organized online to decry the high price of sanitary pads in South Korea, July 3. (by Kim Seong-gwang, staff photographer)

Female activists strike out at notion that menstruation is something they must hide or be ashamed of

On July 3, sanitary pads smeared with paint the color of blood paint were put up on the street near the tourist district of Insadong in Seoul, alongside banners with slogans such as, “Sanitary pads are a necessity for half the population, so the government ought to institute price controls,” said one. “If pregnancy and childbirth are commendable, why should menstruation be a shameful deed that has to be concealed?” said another.Next to the sanitary pads were receipts that showed sanitary pads had been purchased for 12,600 won (US$10.96) and 9,900 won (US$8.61).Women who are opposed to the price of sanitary pads increasing on the grounds that they are an essential item for women organized a demonstration on Sunday that employed the techniques of performance art.

A chart put up on the street near the tourist district of Insadong in Seoul listing the per unit prices of sanitary pads in various countries, July 3. South Korea is at the top, with a per unit per of 331 won (28 cents), higher than Japan and the US (both 181 won), Canada (202 won) and Denmark (156 won). (by Kim Seong-gwang, staff photographer)

The performance on Sunday was put on by a group of women who responded to a suggestion made by one social media user who posted the hashtag “let’s hang up sanitary pads.”“Between 2010 and 2015, consumer prices have gone up by 9.81%, but the price of sanitary pads has increased by 24.59%,” said the person who came up with the idea of the performance. This person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, pointed out that South Korean sanitary pads cost between 50% and 100% more than their equivalents in countries like Japan, France and Denmark.“During the same period, the price of pulp, the main ingredient of sanitary pads, has fallen by 29.6%, and the price of felt has fallen by 7.6%. Companies shouldn’t be charging unfair prices because of menstruation, which women didn’t choose and can’t avoid,” this person said.The reason that the group chose the somewhat provocative idea of putting sanitary pads on the wall for their demonstration was to send the message that “menstruation is an ordinary human physiological function that we don’t need to hide or to feel ashamed of.”After a debate about the price of sanitary pads was ignited by the story of a teenager who had to use an insole during her period because sanitary pads were too expensive, a lawmaker in a local legislature remarked that it was revolting to use the word “sanitary pad” in public.“Even though I knew there was nothing shameful about my period, I used to hide my sanitary pads and call it ’that time of the month,‘” said one of the women who took part in the demonstration as she attached a sanitary pad painted red to the wall.By Bang Jun-ho, staff reporter

Experts group to help medical institutions go abroad

Experts group to help medical institutions go abroad

#Korea_health_industry #GHKOL_experts

When did the medical institutions become “industry” to go abroad? And who is these experts?


 

State health agencies said Friday they have launched a group of specialists to effectively assist South Korea’s medical institutions get established in foreign countries.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Korea Health industry Development Institute (KHIDI) are working together in operating the “Global Healthcare Key Opinion Leaders” (GHKOL) and has selected 47 members for the group that will provide consultations on legal, commercial and financial matters specific to individual countries, officials said. The members, formally appointed on Friday, organized a session on China on the same day, briefing the participants on strategies and the latest trends in China’s health care industry.

Institutions planning to expand overseas can apply for the group’s assistance, and consulting fees will be paid for by KHIDI.

“The specialist members of GHKOL will ease the burdens of medical institutions who want to go overseas, and at the same time help smaller and regionally based institutions actively seek expansion in other countries,” the health ministry said. (Yonhap)

[Negotiations on the Minimum Wage in 2017] “Change the Minimum Wage to the Best Wage” Young People Take to the Streets in Hongdae as June 28 Deadline for Minimum Wage Approaches

“Change the Minimum Wage to the Best Wage” Young People Take to the Streets in Hongdae as June 28 Deadline for Minimum Wage Approaches

#minimum_wage #youth_union #part-time_workers_union #Korea

Minimum wage in Korea on 2015 is 6,030Won(5.4$) per hour, and the Unions are claiming for 10,000Won(9$).


Are we here to receive 6,030 won?” “No!”
“Are we here to receive 6,500 won? 7,000 won? 8,000 won?” “No! No! No!”
“How much are we here to receive?” “Ten thousand won!”

On June 26, two days before next year’s minimum wage is fixed, a “festival” was held all day in the streets near Hongik University (Hongdae) in Mapo-gu, Seoul demanding the minimum wage of 10,000 won.

Lively, but Desperate for “10,000 Won”: Members of the Part-time Workers Union are dressed in costumes symbolizing part-time workers demanding a minimum wage of 10,000 won in the streets near Hongik University (Hongdae) in Mapo-gu, Seoul on June 26. Seo Seong-il

Members of the Part-time Workers Union marched around Hongdae carrying a speaker on a wagon. The members shouted slogans like, “I want to eat barbecue pork with the minimum wage of 10,000 won,” to the beat of the dance music flowing out of the speaker. The citizens walking by waved and the part-time workers in nearby shops applauded.

The union members transformed into products often found in convenience stores where many of the members work. They wore costumes, turning into triangular rice wrapped in sea laver, instant cup noodles, French fries and soda cans. Some even wore the uniforms they where when working at convenience stores and fast food restaurants.

Jeong Min-ju, 20, said, “The wages of 20 million part-time workers cannot be decided by 27 people in a private meeting. The minimum wage should be decided at the National Assembly.”
Seo Yeong-gyo, 23, also said, “The nine CEOs (representatives of employers) on the Minimum Wage Committee argue that 1 million won a month is enough to cover the minimum cost of living, but why do people who have never lived on the minimum cost of living decide the minimum wage?”

The Youth Union also organized the 2016 Minimum Wage Festival this day. Union members shouted, “Change the minimum wage to the best wage!”
They prepared events like “Take a Picture with His Majesty, the Minimum Wage” and “Get Shaved Ice by Shattering the Frozen Minimum Wage.” One citizen who tried Jegichagi (a traditional Korean game) to Raise the Minimum Wage only managed to kick the jegi twice. But union members smiled and said, “The minimum wage rises by 10 won each time you kick the jegi. You raised the minimum wage by 20 won; you are beautiful.”

Amelsa, 19, an American student in Korea said, “The minimum wage in New York is $15 and I earned $19 an hour working part-time. The minimum wage in South Korea is too low. I agree that they should receive at least 10,000 won.”
The Minimum Wage Festival lasted until the evening. At stay.round.GEE in Seogyo-dong, a “talk” concert was held with over a hundred people attending the event. There, former lawmaker Eun Soo-mi said, “I hope that the minimum wage increases to 10,000 won and that the young people can spread their wings.”

This year’s minimum wage was 6,030 won an hour. On a monthly basis, this adds up to the minimum monthly wage of 1.2 million won. This is less than the average monthly expenses of a one-person household (1.6 million won) of an urban worker released by Statistics Korea in 2014, and is also less than the monthly living expenses of a single worker (1,506,179 won) in 2015 according to a survey by the Minimum Wage Committee.
The plenary session of the Minimum Wage Committee was held on five occasions to discuss the major issues including the minimum wage, but the committee members have failed to narrow their differences.

Labor demands an hourly 10,000 won as the minimum wage for 2017, but the management is requesting that the government freeze the minimum wage at 6,030 won, the same as this year. The committee will hold the sixth and seventh plenary session on June 27-28 and review and determine next year’s minimum wage.

Female job quality remains lower

Female job quality remains lower

#female_labor #irregular_workers #glass_ceiling

 

The job quality of Korean women still remains low compared to their male counterparts, although the female employment rate edged up slightly last year, data showed Monday.

Statistics Korea said in its compiled report that among all female employees, 40.3 percent were irregular workers as of March this year, while the figure for men stood at 25.5 percent.

In terms of salary, a female worker was paid an average 1.78 million won ($1,530) a month last year, 62.8 percent of that of men in the country.

[A Country Where Memorials Are Becoming the Norm] Guui Station, Gangnam Station, Sewol: Citizens’ Lives Increasingly Impoverished, While Government Remains Without a Solution(Kyunghyang)

[A Country Where Memorials Are Becoming the Norm] Guui Station, Gangnam Station, Sewol: Citizens’ Lives Increasingly Impoverished, While Government Remains Without a Solution(Kyunghyang)

#risk_society #human_security #Korea #Sewol_tragedy #Gangnam_misogynic_crime #Guui_worker’s_death

“I came here to remember the victim, because it did not feel like someone else’s affair,” one citizen spoke, at Guui Station, Seoul where a nineteen-year-old temporary worker died while trying to fix a screen door alone.

For some time now, memorials have become the norm in South Korea. A nineteen-year-old subcontract worker died while fixing the screen door at Guui Station; a twenty-something woman was killed in a unisex bathroom near Gangnam Station; a string of subcontract workers took their own lives in Ulsan and Geoje; and two years ago, the Sewol sank to the bottom of the ocean. Each time such a tragic event occurred, citizens rushed out to the streets, to squares, and remembered the dead. The frustration at the living conditions that never seem to improve and at the government that doesn’t have any solutions has turned such memorials into a daily routine.

A Screen Door, Now a Door of Memories: On May 31, notes and chrysanthemums are posted next to the screen door 9-4 in the platform at Guui Station, line 2 of the Seoul Metro. Citizens continue to visit this site, where a nineteen-year-old temporary worker died on duty. Kim Chang-gil

At the site of the accident at Guui Station, where the young worker, so busy that he didn’t even have the time to enjoy a decent meal, died on duty, citizens stopped to post messages remembering the victim on the screen door, and in the evening, they voluntarily engaged in a silent protest. Near Gangnam Station exit 10, located near the site where a woman in her twenties was killed at the hands of a man she did not know, more than a thousand notes with messages remembering the victim were posted. The citizens continued to come to remember the victim for ten days.

South Korea, which went through modernization in a relatively short time, suffered constant tragedies: in 1994, the Seongsu Bridge collapsed; in 1995, the Sampoong Department Store collapsed; in 1999, a fire burned down Sealand; in 2003, there was a fire in the Daegu subway; and in 2014, the Sewol sank. But the way people responded to such disasters changed with the Sewol tragedy. The one leading the memorial changed from the state to the citizens. Shortly after the accident, citizens rushed out to remember the victims and later brought the tragedy into the public forum. The Gangnam Station murder, once known as a “random murder” was redefined as a misogynic crime, because of the memos posted by young women.

The social network services (SNS) have become a catalyst in making memorials a daily routine. After the Gangnam Station murder, a Facebook page called “Gangnam Station Exit 10” (over 5,100 followers) emerged, and after the screen door accident at Guui Station, a Facebook page called “Guui Station Platform Screen Door 9-4” appeared.
Citizens are not simply remembering the victims. Behind the stream of notes lies the calm awareness of the contradictions in our social structure. An office worker we met at the site of the Guui Station accident, Yi So-yeong (30) said, “Our social structure is set up so that we cannot know who will die or how.”

Some experts claim that such a phenomenon is the expression of anxiety that the citizens have as they live in a risky polarized society. Yi Gwan-hu, a researcher at Sogang Institute of Political Studies said, “In a society without hope, we are comforted by the sympathy among hopeless people, by the fact that there are people ‘like me’ everywhere.”
The constant stream of memorials also brings with it fatigue, because nothing has actually changed even after the issue has been openly discussed by our society.
Lee Taek-kwang, a professor at Kyunghee University said, “Issues of a scale that cannot be solved by mourning and remembering the victims alone should be solved at the social level, but since politics, which should mediate the problem-solving, is not functioning correctly, people end up tired and frustrated. The government and the political parties should become the media in solving social problems.”

 

 

Number of Newborn Babies Reach Lowest Ever: South Korea’s Growth Engine Dies Down(Kyunghyang)

Number of Newborn Babies Reach Lowest Ever: South Korea’s Growth Engine Dies Down(Kyunghyang)
The total number of newborn babies this year has recorded the lowest ever as of April. If this trend continues, the number of babies born this year is expected to drop below the lowest annual figure of 435,031 (2005). The number of marriages has also sharply declined compared to last year, so the low birth rate trend is expected to worsen. The country is stuck in a marsh of slow growth and the number of newborn babies continues to drop every year. On top of that, as the productive population also heads downward, the South Korean economy is likely to see its growth engine deteriorate. Some experts even claim that the government’s policies to encourage childbirth and support childcare are actually fueling the current low fertility phenomenon.

“The Vicious Cycle of Slow Growth: The Problem of the Low Birth Rate” Due to the falling birth rate, the number of newborn babies this year is expected to reach a record-breaking low. An empty baby bed is seen in a neonatal unit at Cheil General Hospital in Jung-gu, Seoul on June 23. Kim Chang-gil

According to the “April Population Trend” released by Statistics Korea on June 23, only 35,300 babies were born in April, a 7.3% decrease from a year ago. This is the lowest monthly figure since they began collecting statistics in 2000. The decrease rate compared to the same month last year was also the biggest since November 2013 (-12.3%). The total number of babies born from January to April this year was 137,900, a 5.2% (8,100) decrease from the same period last year (156,000). The total number of newborn babies from January to April was smaller than the same period in 2005, the year that saw the smallest number of newborn babies (153,800). At this rate, we are likely to break that record this year.

The only local area where the number of newborn babies increased from January to April was Sejong-si. Daejeon saw its figures decrease by 11.8% and Seoul (-5.4%) and Gyeonggi-do (-5.2%) also witnessed a big drop in the number of newborn babies. Given that the reason for the increase in Sejong was because of special factors such as the relocation of government departments and national research institutes, the number of newborn babies is actually decreasing nationwide.

This is because young people are reluctant to get married and have children due to the economic recession and the growing housing prices. The number of marriages this year from January to April was 94,200, 6.9% less than the previous year (101,200). If the number of marriages thus drops, it will be difficult to expect the number of newborn babies to rise next year.

By next year, the number of children 14 years and younger will fall below the number of senior citizens aged 65 and older in South Korea, and the productive population (15-64) will decrease for the first time. The country is in desperate need of measures to slow down the rapid decrease in the population, but the government is only fueling distrust in childbirth and childcare policies with the recent controversy surrounding “customized childcare (limiting the time families can put their children aged 0-2 in childcare to six hours a day for single-income families)” following the conflict over the Nuri program. The government released a series of policies that raised labor intensity, such as performance-based salaries and easier layoffs, while neglecting to secure and expand the social safety net. Thus the nation is farther away from creating an environment where people can give birth to a child with peace of mind.

Jang Jin-hee, a research fellow at Seoul Foundation of Women & Family said, “When we analyze the reason people put off pregnancy and childbirth, the number one reason is economic conditions such as expensive housing prices and the cost of child-rearing. After giving birth to their first child and experiencing the difficulties in infant care, childcare, education, and also in keeping their careers, couples tend to give up on the idea of having a second child.”

Read more: http://english.khan.co.kr/khan_art_view.html?artid=201606241828547&code=710100#csidxfbef9840a23bc7381367fffd6f70194

#birth_rate #Korea #economic_choice?

 

 

[Editorial] We Detest the Misogynic Gaze on the Murder of a Woman Near Gangnam Station (Kyung-hyang)

[Editorial] We Detest the Misogynic Gaze on the Murder of a Woman Near Gangnam Station 
#hate_crime #misogyny #gender
Society’s reaction to the murder of a twenty-something woman by a man in his thirties in a bathroom near Gangnam Station in Seoul has been explosive. A temporary memorial has been installed at the subway station near the crime scene, and the chrysanthemums that citizens have brought form a pile that reaches higher than a person’s knees. On the outer walls of the subway station exit, hundreds of memos have been posted in memory of the victim while others criticize a society that discriminates against women. The Labor Party, the Green Party, and various women’s groups have released a series of statements and a candlelight vigil was organized last night. Women are pouring out their thoughts on misogyny intensifying in our society.

Candlelight Fills Gangnam Station Exit 10: On the evening of May 19, citizens remember the female victim of a murder in a unisex bathroom holding candles in front of Gangnam Station exit 10 in Seoul. Yi Jun-heon

Society is focusing on the latest case because the motive of the murder: misogyny. The suspect’s statement, “Women looked down on me” and the fact that he had waited over an hour for a woman to enter the unisex bathroom make it difficult to argue that misogyny was not the motive. When we think of whether the suspect would have attempted the crime against the male population if he had been slighted by men, the answer becomes clear. The suspect did not target the men who entered the bathroom that day. The police stressed the suspect’s history of being admitted to hospitals four times for schizophrenia. In other words, his misogyny and paranoia could be the manifestation of schizophrenia.

However, it is clear that this case is at least a murder targeting a specific group: women. Otherwise, there is no way to explain why countless women sympathize with the fear and remember the victim on the Internet and at Gangnam Station. Given that the perpetrator did not target an unspecified mass, but women in particular means it is unreasonable to call this a “random” crime. This incident revealed the reality in South Korean society, where a woman faced an outrageous death just because she was a woman. Any woman in this country could fall victim to a crime anytime and anywhere, and this incident shows that women must face fear in their daily lives. According to a survey by the Korean Women’s Development Institute, an overwhelming 98% of the perpetrators of violent crimes such as murder and robbery are men, while 84% of the victims are women. In a situation where the victim and perpetrator of a crime can be clearly distinguished by gender, the fear women have is indeed specific and realistic.

In the social context, what we must focus on is society’s perspective of this case, as well as the dangers this case reveals. The opposition stirring from one side of those who are busy remembering the victim and reflecting on existing views is problematic. They argue that we should not generalize the crime of a mentally ill person to a crime of misogyny. We can dismiss this as a controversial topic. But attempts to seek the motive of the murder in the way the woman was dressed and how much she had drunk is absurd. Treating this issue as a gender conflict and an issue of reverse discrimination against men is also a big problem. Some users of Ilbe, an online community of extreme right-wing conservatives, made gestures with their fingers and posted pictures of them tearing off the messages posted at Gangnam Station. Such patriarchal views that look down on women clearly show us where the hotbed of misogyny lies. The suspect in the latest case did not just fall from the sky. We must not deny the fact that the misogynic posts and sexist language overflowing on the Internet brought on this horrible crime. In a crime where the perpetrator had targeted the entire female community, a twenty-something woman was sacrificed. A society that cannot even denounce such sexual discrimination, which was the fundamental cause, is dangerous.

What we should despise is not just the act of murder triggered by misogyny. The misogynic eyes looking at the women remembering the victim are also something to detest. In this world, South Korea may be a society where women have a low social status, but even so, it is truly shameful that the discourse making groundless attacks on women is spreading in plain sight. We all need to reflect on how the South Korean society became so sick.

Seoul Metro under fire for continued accidents on subway tracks

Seoul Metro under fire for continued accidents on subway tracks

Published : 2016-05-29 16:35 Updated : 2016-05-29 17:25

Subway operator Seoul Metro came fire for lax safety after another worker died on Saturday from being trapped between a screen door separating the subway platform and the train on subway line No. 2. It was the third fatal accident of its kind to occur since 2013.

According to Gwangjin Police Station, the 19-year-old Kim, an employee of a company that Seoul Metro had subcontracted for door maintenance, had been repairing the platform screen door at Guui Station on Saturday evening.

He was working by himself, with neither supervisor nor any signboard to notify approaching train operators.

The authorities have examined surveillance camera recordings and are set to summon related officials for questioning. The probe will be jointly handled by the Ministry of Employment and Labor’s special judicial police and the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency.

Clear screen doors were first set up in 2007 at subway stations in Seoul to prevent people from jumping onto the tracks in suicide attempts. The doors, however, have often caused casualties as they frequently malfunction.

In January 2013, a 38-year-old screen door maintenance worker surnamed Shim, was fatally hit by a train while he was on the tracks to fix a screen door at Seongsu Station. In August 2014, another employee surnamed Cho from the same company died from a similar accident at Gangnam Station. Both employees were carrying out the task alone when the accidents happened.

Last year, Seoul Metro established a safety manual for subway maintenance subcontractors, instructing workers to work in pairs and forbidding them from going on the tracks during subway operation hours.

However, such requirements are often overlooked by workers due to the limited number of workers as well as urgent calls by subway operators to quickly fix screen doors for passengers’ convenience.

“We deeply regret lax safety management over screen door maintenance involving our subcontracted companies. We apologize to the bereaved families and citizens who use Seoul Metro,” said Jeong Su-young, head of Seoul Metro’s infrastructure management department, on Saturday.

He added that Seoul Metro will change its screen door maintenance company from the current subcontractor to a city-run subsidiary company, starting from August, citing “workforce efficiency and strengthened safety.” It also said it would establish new requirements for screen door repair.

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

#worker’s_health #subway_worker #fatal_accident