Gov’t to compensate Jeju massacre victims for first time

JEJU, South Korea– Seventy years after the government’s bloody suppression of a civilian uprising on Jeju Island, hundreds of survivors and families of victims will be compensated by the state for the first time, officials said Thursday.

A state committee tasked with compensating and recovering the reputations of the victims of the massacre selected the first group of 300 victims for compensation under a special law enacted in December.

Those eligible for compensation, including victims who were killed or went missing and suffered disabilities due to the incident, will receive up to 90 million won (US$63,269) each under the compensation plan.

“The special law on the Jeju April 3 incident has been legislated through a bipartisan agreement, and the president has also shown great interest in the issue,” Kim Jong-min, the committee chair, said ahead of Thursday’s meeting to review compensation applications.

“We hope this will help allay the sorrow the bereaved families of those who suffered disabilities, went missing or were jailed underwent for the past 70 years or so.”

On April 3, 1948, Jeju islanders began protesting against U.S. military-led rule following Korea’s liberation from Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule. The then government distorted the uprising as a communist riot and massacred an estimated 30,000 civilians, about 10 percent of the island’s population at the time, in armed crackdowns over the subsequent years.

Under the compensation plan drawn up by the interior ministry, some 2,100 victims are expected to be compensated this year, followed by 2,150 more in 2023-25, before the plan is completed in 2026. The compensation, which covers 10,101 victims, is estimated at 960 billion won.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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