August 15, 2019
The two countries have been at loggerhead over trade issues for weeks.
Rallies denouncing the Shinzo Abe administration for Tokyo’s economic retaliation against Seoul are set to take place Thursday on Liberation Day, along with events reflecting on the 74th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan’s colonial rule.
A movement for joint action to resolve the wartime forced labor and other historical issues with Japan — set up by some 10 civic groups, including Movement for One Korea and the Center for Historical Truth and Justice — will begin a rally at 11 a.m. on Thursday at Seoul Plaza.
Civic groups that have sought to resolve the forced labor issue in Japan will also participate in the rally.
Koreans subjected to forced labor overseas by Japan during the colonial period will speak about their hardships, and ask for support to resolve the issue.
According to organizers’ estimates, about 2,000 participants will march along Gwanghwamun-daero up to the Japanese Embassy. They will carry photos of deceased victims and some 100 funeral streamers urging Abe to apologize.
Some of the surviving victims and their family members plan to give a list of signatures from supporters to the Japanese Embassy.
Meanwhile, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions is scheduled to hold an event north of Gwanghwamun Plaza from 2 p.m. on Thursday.
The umbrella union expects about 10,000 of its members to take part in the event, which will look back on the history of workers’ struggles since Korea’s liberation in 1945, and declare the liberation and freedom of workers.
The KCTU will also join an event at 3 p.m. at the same venue calling on the government to lift sanctions on North Korea and to adhere to the joint declaration with Pyongyang signed in June 2000.
Other groups, including the Minjung Party, will also hold events and rallies around Gwanghwamun.
On Thursday evening, a candlelight vigil denouncing the Abe administration will take place at Gwanghwamun Plaza.
An anti-Abe movement joined by some 750 civic groups is co-hosting the vigil with the Civil Society Organizations Network in Korea and others from 6 p.m.
The groups intend to ask people to join a nationwide boycott of Japanese products. They have emphasized that they are anti-Abe, not anti-Japan, calling for peace between the two countries.
They will also urge Seoul to scrap a military information-sharing deal with Japan called the General Security of Military Information Agreement, and ask Koreans to join a national petition.
Compared to the previous four candlelight vigils held around the “comfort woman” statue at the old Japanese Embassy site, Thursday’s vigil in Gwanghwamun is expected to attract a greater number of participants.
Our Republic Party and groups calling for the release of former President Park Geun-hye are also scheduled to hold rallies from 2:30 p.m. in front of Seoul City Hall, 5:30 p.m. in front of the Dong-A Ilbo building and 8 p.m. in front of the Sejong Center of the Performing Arts.