On the 1st, independent lawmaker Yoon Mi-hyang (pictured) from the Democratic Party of Korea attended the ‘Memorial Meeting for the 100 Years of Korean Massacre in the Great Kanto Earthquake’ held in Tokyo, Japan by the General Association of Koreans in Japan (Chongryon), a pro-North Korea group. Rep. Yoon did not attend the memorial ceremony held in Tokyo on this day by the Korean government and the Korean People’s Association in Japan (Mindan), an ethnic Korean organization.
Chongryon welcomed Rep. Yoon as a ‘South Korean delegation’ and arranged a seat next to Chongryon executives at the event venue. A large number of Chongryon leadership, including Chairman Heo Jong-man and First Vice-Chairman Park Gu-ho, attended the memorial ceremony. In 2020, Chairman Heo received the title of ‘Effort Hero’, known as North Korea’s highest rank, and the National Flag Medal 1st Class from North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un.
Koh Deok-woo, chairman of the Tokyo headquarters of Chongryon안전놀이터, called the South Korean government a “South Korean puppet party” in his memorial address that day.
Yoon Mi-hyang remains silent in response to Chongryon’s ‘South Korean puppet party’ remarks
The ‘Kanto Massacre 100th Anniversary Memorial Project Promotion Committee’ said, “The Korean and Japanese governments are trampling on the efforts and aspirations of citizens of both countries toward history, justice, and peace, spurring Korea-Japan military cooperation and Korea-U.S.-Japan military alliance, and forcing hostility with neighboring countries.” He criticized the Korean and Japanese governments together.
After the event ended, Rep. Yoon answered a question from a reporter from Dong-A Ilbo asking about the purpose of his attendance, saying, “It’s the 100th anniversary of the Kanto.” When asked about Chongryon’s use of the expression ‘South Korea’s puppet cabal,’ he left without answering.
Rep. Yoon explained, “I only attended at the request of the Promotion Committee for the 100th Anniversary Memorial Project of the Kanto Massacre, and it has nothing to do with Chongryon. I went because I always thought about the need to uncover the truth about the Kanto Massacre.”
Rep. Yoon sent an official letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the National Assembly Secretariat at the end of last month, requesting cooperation in entering Japan. The Korean Embassy in Japan met Rep. Yoon at the airport on the 30th of last month and provided transportation to his accommodation. Representative Yoon said, “Because we arrived late in Japan, we received a car at the airport.”
A government official said, “It is strange that a member of the National Assembly receives support from the Korean government to attend an event by an anti-national group that denies Korean (national) identity.”
Rep. Yoon, who entered the 21st National Assembly as a proportional representative, was expelled from the Democratic Party and left the party in June 2021 due to allegations of private misappropriation of donations and a trust in the name of real estate while he was chairman of the Justice and Memory Solidarity, a civic group supporting Japanese military comfort women victims. He was sentenced to a fine of 15 million won in the first trial for personal misappropriation of donations in February this year. There was also controversy over the hiring of a former pro-North Korean media reporter as a fourth-level aide.