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South Korea: Five-Year Mental Health Plan Aimed at Reducing Suicides Adopted

(Mar. 9, 2016) The Korean government adopted a five-year plan of comprehensive measures on mental illness, covering the years 2016-2021.  The plan promotes early detection of mental illness and obligates the government to reduce co-pays for mental health care.  The government also plans to develop a campaign to reduce prejudice against mentally ill people.  (Serving […]

South Korea: First Court Order to Return Children to Another Country Under the Hague Convention

(Feb. 23, 2016) On February 15, 2016, the Seoul Family Court ordered a Korean father to return his two children to his wife in Japan.  (Hyun-jeong Lee, Court Orders Korean Dad to Return Children to Separated Japanese Wife, KOREA HERALD (Feb. 15, 2016).)  It is the first case in Korea in which a court ordered […]

South Korea: Controversial Court Decision on Academic Freedom

(Jan. 15, 2016) The Seoul Eastern District Court, on January 13, 2016, ruled in favor of plaintiffs who filed a defamation suit against Park Yu-ha, a professor of Seoul’s Sejong University. Park published a book entitled Comfort Women of the Empire in June 2014.  The plaintiffs are former comfort women/sex slaves from the World War […]

South Korea: Constitutional Court Decides Long-Running Case on Compensation for Forced Labor During Colonial Rule

(Jan. 6, 2016) A lawsuit called “the longest unresolved case” in Korea, which took the country’s Constitutional Court six years to deliberate, was finally settled in December 2015. (2009 Heonba 317 (Dec. 23, 2015) (in Korean); Yong-Jin Che, Claims Agreement Lawsuit That Gained Attention in Korea and Japan, Korean Constitutional Court Avoided Discussion, CHOSUN ILBO […]

South Korea: Refugee Resettlement Program

(Jan. 4, 2016) The first refugees to be handled under South Korea’s new resettlement program arrived in Korea on December 23, 2015. South Korea’s Refugee Act became effective in July 2013. (The Refugee Act, Act No. 11298 of 2012 (Feb. 10, 2012) REFWORLD.) The Act states, “[t]he Minister of Justice may permit resettlement in the […]

South Korea: Supreme Court Keeps Unfaithful Spouses from Being Able to File for Divorce

(Oct. 13, 2015) On September 15, 2015, the Supreme Court of Korea upheld the precedent that a court may not grant a divorce when the petitioner is the spouse responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. (2013 므568 Divorce 이혼 (Sept. 15, 2015), Supreme Court of Korea website [click pdf file].) This was the first […]

China; South Korea: Landmark Free Trade Agreement Signed

(June 11, 2015) On June 1, 2015, China and South Korea signed a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA). (Brittany Felder, China, South Korea Sign Free Trade Agreement, PAPER CHASE (June 2, 2015).) The landmark document, which was finalized in November 2014, will eliminate tariffs on more than 90% of the two sides’ goods over the […]

South Korea: Controversial Anti-Corruption Law Promulgated

(Apr. 16, 2015) On March 26, 2015, President Park Geun-hye of South Korea promulgated the Anti-Corruption Law (Act No. 13278 (Mar. 27, 2015), Korea Ministry of Government Legislation website (in Korean)). The Law won bi-partisan approval in the National Assembly on March 3, 2015, despite controversy over its possible violations of the country’s Constitution. (Park […]

South Korea: Criminal Provision on Adultery Held Unconstitutional

(Mar. 24, 2015) South Korea’s Constitutional Court has struck down the provision that defined the crime of adultery in the Criminal Act, ending a decades-long controversy. (2009 Hun-Ba 17, Con. Ct., Feb. 26, 2015, Constitutional Court website (in Korean); Criminal Act, Act No. 293 (Sept. 18, 1953, as last amended by Act No.12898 of Dec. […]

South Korea: Tobacco Tax Hike

(Feb. 3, 2015) The price of a typical 20-count pack of cigarettes in Korea went up from KRW2,500 to KRW4,500 (about US$2.30 to $4.15) on January 1, 2015. (Joo-won Chung, Tobacco Price Hike Begets Fresh Uncertainties, KOREA HERALD (Jan. 27, 2015).) “The increase of 2,000 won includes hikes in the tobacco consumption tax, local education […]