Japanese university professor born in, critical of, South Korea says Seoul barred her entry

by Reiji Yoshida

Staff Writer

A Japanese university professor of South Korean descent claimed Wednesday in Tokyo that Seoul denied her entry to the country last Saturday at Incheon airport.

Oh Seon-hwa told a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan that she was probably denied entry because she is widely regarded as a pro-Japan scholar who strongly criticizes South Korea.

Oh, a professor at Takushoku University and a South Korea-born Japanese citizen, arrived at the airport Saturday to attend the wedding of one of her nephews in South Korea.

She said immigration authorities denied her entry without giving a reason and sent her back to Japan later the day.

Oh, born on Jeju Island in 1956, is a well-known polemic writer in Japan. She has authored several books that backed Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. She was recently critical of the Seoul government’s efforts to promote widespread use of Hangul characters instead of kanji.

She said a copy of the paper the immigration authorities gave to her read that she was being sent back to Japan under Article 76 of the immigration law.

Oh said she is not someone who should be subject to the article, such as a terrorist or a person harmful to the country, and suggested her opinions regarding South Korea and Japan were the only reason for her being barred entry.

“This cannot happen in a democratic, civilized modern country,” Oh said, adding that the last time she visited South Korea, at the end of April, she was allowed in without a hitch.

Oh said she was also denied entry in 2007 when she went to South Korea to attend her mother’s funeral, but was eventually allowed to enter after she contacted Japanese authorities.

  • Sue Hiraki

    I wonder why Korean media never criticize their government’s act against Ms. Oh Seon-hwa.
    This is apparlently violating freedom of speech. Have they lost their pride as journalists?

    • Leon Davis

      Why does the Japanese media never honestly criticize what Japan did to China and Korea? Has the Japanese media lost their pride as journalists? This is apparently a violation of free speech. Japan has never apologized for what it did, and never will, since they consider their race to be superior to all others. No member of a super-race ever apologizes to the untermenschen, do they?