Seoul eases ban on culture from Japan

Kyodo

South Korea announced Tuesday that it is further relaxing its ban on cultural imports from Japan, allowing public performances of Japanese pop music without restrictions.

The Culture and Tourism Ministry said in a statement that the scope of Japanese movies will be expanded to accept all films except those restricted to people 18 years or older.

South Korea has allowed public performances of Japanese pop culture since September, but only at indoor venues with a seating capacity of less than 2,000.

In a major policy turnaround, South Korea partially lifted for the first time in October 1998 the long-standing ban on Japanese culture that had been imposed because of negative public sentiment over Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula between 1910 and 1945.

Animated movies that have won international awards are also covered by Tuesday’s relaxation of rules on Japanese cultural products and will be allowed for the first time.

South Korea is also allowing in Japanese music recordings, except those containing songs in Japanese.

Under the latest measure, imports of products for PC games or online games are allowed, with restrictions left on materials produced exclusively for video game players such as the PlayStation machines and Nintendo 64.

South Korea is allowing Japanese broadcasts of sports, documentaries and news into the country for the first time.

Culture and Tourism Minister Park Jie Won said in a statement that the government’s latest opening to Japanese culture was decided after soliciting opinions from cultural and artistic circles and examining reviews by the government and private research institutes.