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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition) : Daily News in English About Korea

Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition) : Daily News in English About KoreaJapanese Leaders ‘Plotted Murder of Korean Empress’

Japanese prime minister Hirobumi Ito and other Cabinet members had a hand in the brutal 1895 murder of Korea’s Empress Myeongseong, documents unearthed in Japan’s parliamentary library suggest. Oct. 8 marks the 110th anniversary of the empress’ slaying at the hands of a gang of Japanese thugs.

Documentary filmmaker Chung Su-ung on Wednesday released a June 1895 letter from Japan’s justice minister Akimasa Yoshikawa to foreign minister Munemitsu Mutsu. It details a discussion with Japanese charge d’affaires in Korea, Kaoru Inoue. Yoshikawa reports he told Inoue, who would soon return home, to urge prime minister Ito to abandon “the temporary plan” and put “the decisive plan” into action.

Japan has consistently denied any official involvement in the murder, and Korean scholars have suggested a number of theories. The letter could make the murder appear in a whole new light. Yoshikawa writes, “Sounding out Inoue, he does not seem to hate our idea. Therefore, he may oblige us.”

Prof. Lee Tae-jin of Seoul National University said Wednesday, “Judging by the information described in the correspondence … the murder of the empress seems to be under discussion at the Japanese Cabinet level. It certainly deserves a lot of attention” as there is little other evidence to prove Ito’s involvement.

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