Mugabe would be proud

Remember when President Robert Mugabe began forcibly expropriating white-owned farms, replacing their owners with his cronies and Zimbabwean civil-war veterans?

State to Confiscate Land of Pro-Japanese Collaborators

A presidential agency Monday decided to confiscate land that is now owned by the descendants of 10 pro-Japan collaborators during the colonial period (1910-1945). It was the second step after the agency decided to seize the property of the offspring of another nine pro-Japan collaborators last May.

The Investigative Commission on Pro-Japanese Collaborators’ Property has conducted the confiscation as part of the efforts to clear away the colonial-era legacy. The commission will seize about one million square meters of land by the 10 collaborators, which is valued at 25.7 billion won.

The confiscation is possible due to the National Assembly’s enactment of a special law in December 2005. The law allows the agency to seize property assets that pro-Japan collaborators obtained between 1904 and Aug. 15 in 1945 for their cooperation with Japan. Property that any third party obtained later without knowing the fact was excluded.

Five descendants of the 10 collaborators in the second decision and two of the nine in the first decision have lodged an objection and prepared for a lawsuit, the agency said.

Since the enactment of the law, the agency has made a list of 452 pro-Japan collaborators and examined the land of 109 among them. The total size of the land is estimated at 13.1 million square meters, worthy almost 100 billion won.

The seized property will be used to compensate independence fighters and their offspring for the sacrifices in the liberation of the country.

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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10 Responses to Mugabe would be proud

  1. random african says:

    errrr..
    The US-enacted Land Reforms in Taiwan and Japan right after WW2 exactly did that..
    in France, right after WW2, companies like Renault were confiscated because their owner collaborated with the Nazis..

    60+ years later though ?

  2. IJ says:

    A government’s entitlement to decide the rights of people within its territory?

    Pretty absolute. For example, in 1933 US President Roosevelt certainly asked for all private gold to be turned in for paper money; more recently we still see nationalisations, and huge defaults on international debt (Argentina in 2001).

    Incidentally, Argentina also thinks it owns more territory than the United Nations has assigned it.

  3. Curzon says:

    In re Taiwan, Japan, and free Europe in 1945: that’s depriving the actual persons allegedly involved in supporting/backing/starting the war. In Korea, this is the depivation of property rights of the alleged supporter’s sons, daughters and grandchildren.

    As for FDR, that was creating a unified federal financial system; and nationalizations of property for public use is, if not desirable, within the scope of what a powerful state can generally do.

    In this case, we’re talking about nothing more than Mugabe’s Zimbabwe — taking land away from people who are deemed not to deserve it due to their heritage, and giving it to others who deserve it because of their heritage. Although in Korea, like in Zimbabwe, I fear that eligibility for this property is not what grandpa did, but how buddy-buddy you are to the ruling mandarins.

    A government’s entitlement to decide the rights of people within its territory?

    That’s absolutely terrifying, and what we have a Bill of Rights for in the US.

  4. Alfred Russel Wallace says:

    As Lord Curzon remarks, a Bill of Rights is an essential underpinning for a civilized society. The Korean statute is a dreadful example of the evils of ‘democracy’… what Korea needs is a representative republic, not a mob democracy!

  5. Durf says:

    The next logical step is to legalize shoplifting when it’s a Japanese product you’re stealing.

  6. Peter Pan says:

    Article 13, 3 of the South Korean Constitution

    No citizen shall suffer unfavorable treatment on account of an act not of his own doing but committed by a relative.

    Whoops… Oh well… I guess when you’re ignoring 13,1,

    No citizen may be prosecuted for an act which does not constitute a crime under the law in force at the time it was committed, nor may he be placed in double jeopardy.

    …there is no reason to follow 13,3 either….

  7. Aceface says:

    I don’t mind what South Koreans do with the legacy of Japanese colonialization,but one thing.I’m sure that certiain people in the north must be watching this all and start to think about what would happen to them if they ever lose grip to the power.Unless South Korea establish the true rule of law and stop this political culture of bashing the drowning dog,the regime and establishment of the north would never turn over to the south.

  8. random african says:

    i’m not sure the issue in Zimbabwe is heritage..
    well the bigger moral issue anyway.

    the Zimbabwean Liberation War wasnt 50 years ago.. it ended in 1979. I bet most of the farmers weren’t fighting against Ian Smith’s regime either.

    but here’s a question i wanted someone, anyone with some anarcho-capitalist leanings to answer: is the propriety acquired by Mugabé’s cronnies legitimate and scared ? can the state in the future deprive them or their children from it ? if yes, how exactly is it different from the state-backed acquisition of that same land by the white farmers ? wasnt there any coercision involved when they got it ?

    so morally, how does it work ?

  9. Curzon says:

    is the propriety acquired by Mugabé’s cronnies legitimate

    Well, no. But if in three generations the white farmers descendants tried to get it back from RM’s crony’s descendants, most civilized systems of law would rule that statute of limitations or adverse possession would have eliminated the claim.

    Land distribution is almost never jusfitied. Additionally, my issue with Zimbabwe was the lack of the judicial process and the rule of law. If you want to distribute property, it should be done through a blind administrative process, with rights of appeal for the original owners, and distribution based on merit, not who you know (the problem in Korea).

    If you want socialism, that’s fine — Sweden is a socialist system based on the rule of law. But most systems, such as Zimbabwe and Venezuala, are socialist systems giving persons in power the right and ability to favor their friends. And that’s wrong, no matter how you look at it.

  10. IJ says:

    Land distribution is almost never justified?

    Depends on the national interest. Cambridge University investigated the history of this a few years ago.

    “the USA had all kinds of provision to ensure that foreigners invest in the country but do not control its economy. The US federal government had restrictions on foreigners’ ownership in agricultural land, mining, and logging. It discriminated foreign firms in banking and insurance, while prohibiting foreign investment in coastal shipping. It demanded that all directors of national banks have to be American citizens, while depriving foreign shareholders of voting rights in the case of federally-chartered banks. It also prohibited the employment foreign workers, thus implicitly disadvantaging foreign investors that wanted to import skilled labour from their home countries. At the state level, there were even more restrictions.”

    A comparison of what is done in the global economy, in the name of ‘national interest’, would be fascinating.