SEOUL, Jan. 30 (Korea Bizwire) — The Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to reduce the volume of purchases from Japanese corporations with a history of being involved in atrocities committed against the Korean people during the colonial rule of the Korean peninsula.
The Seoul Metropolitan Council began deliberating on a recently submitted bill that calls on the mayor of Seoul to prevent Seoul City Hall, the Metropolitan Council, and city subsidiaries from concluding optional contracts with Japanese corporations involved in past atrocities.
The bill also stipulates that the mayor can advise Seoul’s 25 autonomous districts to refrain from signing contracts with these corporations.
The special committee for forced labor victims led by the South Korean Office of the Prime Minister designated 299 Japanese corporations in 2012 as being involved in past atrocities.
Toshiba Corp., Hitachi Ltd., Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., Mitsubishi Corp., Sumitomo Corp. and other Japanese conglomerates are included in the list.
“We say we detest their past brutality, but we continue to buy their products,” said Hong Seong-ryong, Seoul City councilman who sponsored the bill.
“Seoul spent more than 50 billion won (US$44.6 million) over the last three years purchasing goods produced by these corporations.”
“In accordance with the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement, the Seoul Metropolitan Government cannot entirely cease to make purchases from these corporations,” he added.
“But it is still very important to cultivate a culture of trying to avoid their products.”
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon vowed last November to “take a closer look into the possibility of replacing Japanese products with our own,” adding, however, that “some purchased goods, including broadcasting equipment, medical devices, and other specialized products may not be easily replaced.”
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)