The East Asia Gazette

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Massive railway strike ends as Park administration faces new challenges

Starting on December 9th, about 8,700 workers from the Korea Railroad Corp. union went on strike to protest the government’s recent plan to establish a subsidiary for KORAIL’s new bullet train, in the Suseo district of Seoul. The plan was widely believed to be the precursor to train service privatization and large-scale lay offs. Several weeks later, by December 28th, the continuing protests conflagrated to massive proportions, as citizens gathered in the cities of Seoul, Busan, Changwon, Daejeon among others. According to the Korean daily, Hankyoreh, some 100,000 people including students, lawyers and regular citizens partook in the strike, which had by then acquired a broader meaning: not only to oppose railway privatization, but also to put and end to labor oppression,...  read more

North Korean prison camps expanding: Amnesty International

On December 5, Amnesty International released a number of satellite images exposing the development of two North Korean gulags. The report by the London-based human rights watchdog revealed that the two facilities, Kwanliso (lit. Management Bureau) 15 and 16, have expanded with new housing blocks,...  read more

Abe's Secrecy Bill passes as Japan watches closely

Japan has never had a strong tradition of freedom of speech or transparency as the events in the past two years have confirmed, and matters do not seem to be improving. Article 21 of the Constitution of Japan states, “Freedom of assembly and association as well as speech, press and all other...  read more

The delicate decommissioning of Fukushima's power plants

Upon the International Olympic Committee's decision to let Tokyo host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, a great amount of pressure has been placed on TEPCO and the Japanese government to hasten its efforts of cleaning up the aftereffects of the disastrous Fukushima triple meltdown. Whereas...  read more

Bo Xilai trial concludes: verdict to be revealed at a later date

Today, the 64-year-old former Communist Party chief of the southwestern city of Chongqing, Bo Xilai, has undergone his fifth day of trial under accusations of bribery, corruption and abuse of power. Amongst his charges are receiving 21.8 million Yuan ($3.5 million USD) in bribes from plastics-to-...  read more

TEPCO: Almost 2000 employees at risk of cancer

Discontent looms large on the northeastern coast of Japan. From the nuclear disaster that hit the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in March 2011 to June 2013, almost 1,300 TEPCO employees have fled the company of their own volition. According to the Japanese daily, Asahi Shinbun, 51 of those...  read more

North Korea's Reasonable Folly

Suppose for a moment that North Korea is not as crazy as we are often made to believe. Despite the country’s iniquitous treatment of its people, let’s shun the facile argument that the Swiss-educated Dear Leader is an irrational psychopath. Rather, let’s briefly entertain the idea...  read more