Category: Healthcare System

2 workers die in renovation from a motel to hospital (Koreaherald)

Renovating motel to hospital seems common practice in S.Korea thesedays.

#worker’s_death #motel_to_hospital #Korea

Two workers died and four were injured when the roof of a three-story building collapsed Sunday during renovation work in Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province, Monday.

Three of the six workers were buried under the debris when the roof collapsed during work to transform the third floor from a motel to hospital offices.


Two of the buried workers died, but one was found alive after a 14-hour rescue effort.

The building’s structure was too weak use heavy machinery in the rescue operation, and the number of workers assigned to the rescue had to be limited to 20 at a time to avoid a secondary collapse.

Two of the workers were found to have been crushed to death by the debris.


A third was found to have survived, having stepped outside to smoke against a wall minutes before the sudden cave-in, avoiding the direct impact of the fallen roof.

The authorities suspect that the workers had unwittingly knocked down a wall that supported the roof, mistaking it for a non-supporting partition wall to separate motel rooms.

The mistake may have arisen partly because the building differed from typical Korean structures as it was built entirely of unreinforced brickwork, and blueprints of the original construction were missing, authorities said.


The authorities plan to question whether there were any legal breaches in the reconstruction work.

The first floor of the building is being used as a Chinese restaurant and the second floor is a hospital office area.

The renovation had been intended to expand the hospital’s premises.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (

Original article from :

Fiscal plan inadequate to cover welfare spending

#Welfare_spending #10.4%/GDP(2014) #S.Korea #fiscal_plan_for_welfare_needed

Finance Ministry officials have suggested the national budget will exceed 400 trillion won ($364 billion) for the first time next year, while reassuring the state debt will still be held below 40 percent of gross domestic product.

A senior ministry official said last week the 2017 budget would increase by more than 3.5 percent from this year’s 386.4 trillion won to hover slightly above the 400 trillion won mark.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that, despite the planned increase in fiscal spending, it might be possible to keep the national debt to GDP ratio in the 39 percent range.

The figure, which remained at 34.3 percent in 2013 when President Park Geun-hye’s administration was installed, is projected to rise to 40.1 percent in 2016. Submitting an 11 trillion-won supplementary budget plan to the parliament last month, the Finance Ministry said the national debt to GDP ratio might be down to 39.3 percent.

Behind financial authorities’ confidence that an expansionary budget will not further undermine fiscal soundness is a continuous increase in tax revenues.

According to government data, national tax revenues rose by 19 trillion won from a year earlier to 125.6 trillion won in the first half of this year. The amount accounted for 56.3 percent of the annual revenue target of 222.9 trillion won.

Corporate, income and value-added taxes were collected more than expected due to improved profitability of companies, a boom in the real estate market and an increase in private consumption.

Finance Ministry officials say the increase in tax revenues enables them to minimize the issuance of state bonds and repay part of the existing government debt.

South Korea’s national debt as a percentage of GDP may not seem high compared with other members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The country’s national debt to GDP ratio of 37.9 percent in 2015 was far lower than 230 percent for Japan, 113.6 percent for US and 78.7 percent for Germany.

What is worrisome is that Korea has been seeing its national debt rise at the fastest pace among major economies in recent years and this trend is seen to accelerate in the coming decades.

In its long-term fiscal outlook released last year, the Finance Ministry warned that the debt ratio could surge above 90 percent by 2060 if new spending programs were put in place amid a slowdown in economic growth.

In a bid to secure fiscal soundness over the long term, the ministry last week disclosed a draft bill that would make it compulsory for the central government to keep debt below 45 percent of GDP and set the ceiling for the annual budget deficit at 3 percent of GDP.

Critics raise doubts about whether such fiscal targets will remain within reach down the road as the draft law leaves room for the government to go beyond the spending limit when the economic situation worsens.

This consideration may be necessary to prevent the economy already stuck in a low-growth rut from being dragged deeper into recession.

What is more worrying for experts is a lack of concrete measures to finance expanded welfare programs, which they note will make the government’s fiscal scheme unviable in the long run.

In a recent meeting with reporters, Vice Finance Minister Song Eon-seok dismissed concerns that welfare spending would be reduced to meet the fiscal requirements.

“The government will remain committed to adequate expenditure on welfare,” he said.

But he fell short of suggesting credible measures to fund an expanded set of benefit programs, the cost of which will increase rapidly due to an aging population and a low birthrate.

According to OECD data, Korea’s welfare spending to GDP ratio remained at 10.4 percent in 2014, less than half of the OECD average at 21.6 percent.

Experts note it may be too complacent for government policymakers to expect tax revenues to continuously increase to shore up their long-term fiscal scheme. Corporate profits may decline amid the prolonged economic slump and private consumption and real estate deals are likely to dampen as stimulus measures run out of stock.

Experts say serious consideration now needs to be given to raising taxes to meet rising welfare demand while keeping fiscal health.

“What is urgently needed is a way to ensure a stable and substantial increase in revenues rather than an adherence to fiscal rules,” said Oh Gun-ho, who leads a civic group devoted to building up a welfare society.

The administrations of President Park and her predecessor Lee Myung-bak have opposed increasing taxes, arguing the measure would hamper efforts to reinvigorate the economy. However, experts say that it is time to discuss overhauling the taxation system to increase revenues in a way the additional burden will be shared by big corporations, the rich and a larger proportion of wage earners.

By Kim Kyung-ho (

Nurse at Samsung hospital diagnosed with tuberculosis

#tuberculosis #first_in_OECD_countries #nosocomial_infection #K-CDC #testing_all_Koreans_twice_lifetime #seriously??

A nurse working at a pediatric unit at one of the major general hospitals in Seoul has been diagnosed with tuberculosis, just weeks after another TB case was reported among nurses at a different hospital in the city, raising concerns over the nation’s control of the disease.

According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 27-year-old nurse was diagnosed with the disease Monday during a regular health examination provided by her employer — the Samsung Medical Center in southern Seoul.

Prior to the diagnosis, she had been working at a pediatric unit at the hospital, specifically caring for patients with blood cancers. A total of 86 children who have been treated at the unit, as well as 43 health care workers who spent time with the nurse, are being tested for TB, the KCDC said. So far, 37 of the 43 health care workers have tested negative. Results are still pending for the other six.

Last month, a 32-year-old nurse, who was also working at a pediatric unit at the Ewha Womans University Medical Center, was diagnosed with TB through a regular health checkup. She had been working at the hospital’s intensive care unit for newborns. Following her diagnosis, 166 babies and 50 health care workers were tested.

Among them, two infants were diagnosed with latent TB — a condition in which the TB bacteria is in the body but inactive and causing no symptoms. Without treatment, about 5 to 10 percent of latent TB patients are known to develop TB at some point in their lives.

South Korea has recently seen a number of TB cases at facilities with a large number of people, such as schools and postpartum centers. Last year, TB cases were reported in 974 schools, 332 military bases and 91 day care centers and postpartum care facilities.

To tackle the issue, the Health Ministry announced in March that all Koreans would be required to be tested for latent TB at least twice in their lifetime, at age 15 and 40, starting next year.

TB treatments became free for all patients in Korea last month. South Korea currently has the highest incidence rate of TB among nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, partly due to the lack of epidemiological research of the disease since the 1950-53 Korean War.

Those who have visited the Samsung Medical Center and would like to get tested for TB can contact the hospital at (02) 3410-2227 or the state-run health center in southern Seoul at (02) 3423-7133.

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

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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

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[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:

#birth_rate #Korea #economic_choice?



South Korea’s Decrease in Population, More Serious than Japan (kyunghyang)

[20 Years of the Population Cliff: Lessons from Japan]
South Korea’s Decrease in Population, More Serious than Japan


#Korea #population #low_birthrate #aging


Jang (31) had worked as an after-school instructor, but recently failed to renew her contract. Although she has a boyfriend, she has no thoughts of marriage. Jang said, “I don’t earn a lot of money and my status is unstable because it’s a temporary job, so it’s difficult to think about marriage.” She said, “It’s a bit gloomy alone, but I can lower my expectations and adjust to the environment, but if I start a family, I’ll have to get a house and things will be a lot more difficult.”

Population pyramid of Sourt Korea(2020)

The fertility rate in South Korea has been extremely low, less than 1.3 children per woman (the average number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime), for fifteen years in a row since 2001. The government presented measures for the low birthrate and aging of our society since 2005, but the birthrate remains at the bottom among a list of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries.

South Korea’s fertility rate has sharply declined in a short period of time. The birthrate, which was 6.0 children in 1960, dropped to 2.1 children, nearly the replacement fertility rate, in 1983. Then in 1998, it dropped to 1.45 children, 1.3 children in 2001 and 1.08 children in 2005. In 2007, the fertility rate rebounded slightly to 1.25, but as of 2014 (1.21), it has yet to recover to 1.3 children.

South Korea had implemented a “basic plan for the low birthrate and an aging society” on two occasions, first in 2006-2010 and second in 2011-2015, but it failed to present an effective policy response. Jo Seong-ho, assistant research fellow at the Population Policy Research Department at the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs announced in the report, “Status of and Policy for the Low Fertility Rate in South Korea and Japan” released last November, “The problem about South Korea’s policy response to the low fertility rate is that they focus on married families such as those concerning childbirth and childcare, and that the scale of the policy is too small.”

The third basic plan for the low birthrate and an aging society (2016-2020) accepted such criticism and include some measures to relieve the socio-economic reasons why young people hesitate or give up on marriage. Specifically, the plan includes measures to stimulate youth employment and strengthen housing support for newlyweds. The direction of the plans has improved, but its effectiveness still remains controversial.

Stimulating youth employment, which is the key in the government’s low birthrate measures, has as its premise the government’s “labor reforms,” but if such reforms, which have the risk of increasing employment instability by increasing the number of temporary jobs, are carried out, it is doubtful as to whether the younger generation will be able to find peace and have children. Jeong Jun-yeong, director of policy at the Youth Union said, “Measures to stimulate youth employment in the government’s third basic plan is only a low-birthrate version of the labor reforms that the Park Geun-hye government has been trying to push.”

Korea’s income inequality worst in Asia (The Korea Herald)

Korea’s income inequality worst in Asia

[Graphic News] The Korea Herald

The income share of Korea’s top 10 percent earners to total earnings is the highest in Asia, according to a report released by the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday.

The IMF’s Analysis of Inequality in Asia report said Korea’s top 10 percent income class accounted for 45 percent of the country’s total income.

In 2013, the top 1 percent in emerging Asia earned 32 percent of the income share, compared to 30 percent in 1990. The share for the top decile in South Korea rose 5 percentage points over the measured period, the largest among the countries studied, reaching 12 percent in 2013.

“This development has been attributed to rapid aging, large wage gaps for regular and nonregular workers and gender occupational inequality,” the report said.


#Korea #income_inequality

MoHW plans to toughen punishment for re-using syringes(The Korea Times)



Ministry of Health and Welfare plans to toughen sanctions doctors who re-used disposable syringe, but is it the solution to the sequel of commercialized health care?

#iatrogenic_infection #health_care #commercialization


By Lee Kyung-min

The Ministry of Health and Welfare urged the National Assembly, Monday, to pass a revision to the Medical Law to strengthen punishment of doctors who re-use disposable syringes, before the provisional session of the 19th Assembly ends.The move follows the discovery of hundreds of cases of hepatitis C because of the re-use of disposable syringes at a clinic in Wonju, Gangwon Province, and Dana Clinic in southwestern Seoul.

Under the revision, doctors who inflict harm by re-using disposable medical instruments will be deprived of their medical licenses immediately, and following a trial could face up to five years in jail or a fine of 20 million won ($16,000).

The ministry will also prevent clinics from closing before it can complete an epidemiological investigation to determine the cause of the infection, and punish those found responsible.

Currently, those suspected of re-using syringes are suspended for one month.

Under the revised law, doctors could face criminal charges for professional negligence resulting in injury.

Meanwhile, the ministry said it would pay for the treatment costs of patients infected at the Wonju clinic.

The announcement came after a doctor, surnamed Roh, 59 who was under investigation for re-using disposable syringes at his clinic, was found dead last Friday before he was due to face a second round of police questioning.

“We recognize the sudden predicament of such patients and we will have talks with municipalities to provide proper support,” a ministry official said.

The ministry plans to cover treatment costs for now and to seek reimbursement after filing a civil lawsuit against Roh’s family. If the family refuses to pay, a judge can allow Roh’s property to be sold through public auction.

Earlier, the Wonju Community Health Center had asked the Korea Center of Disease Control and Prevention to pay over 6 million won per person for 245 patients who need immediate medical treatment.

According to the center, as of Monday, of 2,489 patients tested, 245 were confirmed to have the disease, up from 115, Feb. 10.

They were among the 15,433 patients suspected of being infected after receiving injections.