Korea: 5 Things to Expect in 2013

‘Tis the season when some reminisce about
the year gone by, while others prefer to focus on the year ahead.
But sometimes, we do both. Our Kim Ji-yeon reports on some of the changes
made in 2012… that will be put into place over the next 12 months. Every long journey
begins with one step, and many of the changes that will be carried out in 2013 had their
beginnings in 2012. Here are the top five changes Korea will see
over the next 12 months. First,…a crackdown on sex crimes.
Starting in March, chemical castration will be on the table as a punishment for all repeat
sex offenders in the nation. Despite concerns over human rights,… the
government isn’t backing down. Their motive… is to reduce the number of
sex offenses. The National Police Agency says Korea has
the highest number of sex offenders per 100-thousand children in the developed world.
A second change: the government will impose heavier sentences on sex offenders,… a move
made in response to criticism that leniency in the courts has contributed to the high
level of sex crimes. Currently, those convicted of sex offenses
against children generally receive a sentence of FIVE years behind bars.
Starting in June, they’ll face up to LIFE in prison.
Third, a system to prevent crimes against women and children is being expanded.
When in trouble, a person using the “SOS Public Relief Service” can send their location to
police through mobile phones with the click of a button.
The service will provided through an application that can be downloaded on all types of wireless
phones starting January 1st. Fourth, Hangul Proclamation Day will be re-designated
as a national holiday.? It is celebrated on October 9th each year
to mark the invention of Hangul, the Korean alphabet.
It returns to being a national holiday in 2013,… 22 years after being taken off the
list because the country had too many national holidays.
The National Assembly passed a bill in November and the Cabinet passed it earlier this month…,
giving Hangul Day the distinction of being a national holiday again.
Finally, Korea will take its seat as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Korea won a spot with votes from more than two-thirds of members in the second round
of voting this past October. It is expected that South Korea will take
a more active role on the Council with matters related to North Korea.
That’s just a handful of the achievements made by Korea over the past year.
We’ll have to wait and see what 2013 has in store.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.

Stephen Childs

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