• Kyodo


The Seoul High Court on Thursday acquitted a Korean resident of Japan who was sentenced to death in the 1970s after being accused of spying for North Korea.

Kang Jong Heon, 61, a professor now living in Kyoto, was in Seoul National University’s medical school when he was apprehended in 1975. He was sentenced to death in 1976 after being accused of breaking a national security law by allegedly receiving orders from North Korea, visiting the North and forming an “underground group.” He was paroled in 1988.

Chief Judge Choi Kyu Hong found that the charge against Kang was likely fabricated after he was illegally held without a warrant and interrogated.

Kang said “not a single day goes by” without him recalling the torture he underwent.

Many Korean residents of Japan were arrested and charged in the 1970s and 1980s during visits to South Korea, and many were allegedly tortured.