December 07, 2005 20:35
A special bill allowing authorities to seize the property of collaborators with the Japanese occupation forces passed the committee stage on Wednesday. The bill now stands a good chance of passing the full National Assembly on Thursday since a majority of lawmakers supported it when it was submitted early this year.
The bill defines as collaborators people who took part in Japan’s forcible annexation of Korea, received titles from the Japanese colonial government and served as members of Japan’s imperial parliament. It also allows the government to confiscate the property of people who killed and arrested independence activists during the occupation.
Authorities can seize property amassed through collaboration and inherited by descendants of collaborators. But any gains on assets or assets sold to third parties are exempt.
The Constitution bans retroactive legislation, but Uri Party Rep. Choi Yong-gue, the architect of the bill, and his supporters say property acquired through collaboration with the Japanese should not be protected given that the Constitution succeeds to the Korean interim government in exile set up in the colonial era.
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