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Hi, friend! 🍀Today, we have 2 issues in Korea for you.
1. No more 'Seoul republic'😤
2. Relations with Japan is getting more tense💣

Also, upcoming events, trend, and weekly hot topics await for you.

Get curious? Komm'on here! 
Local imbalance resolution policies announced this week
“Balanced regional development” is the central task of the Moon government.  Have you ever heard about the ‘'Seoul Republic'? It is a nickname mocking the fact that a large part of the population, infrastructure, and all parts of Korea, including politics, economy, and society are concentrated in Seoul. 

The population of Seoul is about 10 million, which is one-fifth of the total population of South Korea. The total number of people in the metropolitan area combined with the population of Incheon and Gyeonggi-do adds up to 26 million, which is more than half of the total population. 
Besides, about 2 million of the 4 million businesses nationwide are concentrated in the metropolitan area. The cultural infrastructure gap is also extreme. 1040 of the 2825 cultural facilities nationwide are located in the metropolitan area, and 367 of them are registered in Seoul. The same goes for the medical field. Of the 363 general hospitals nationwide, 139 are located in the metropolitan area including Seoul, Gyeonggi-do, and Incheon even though the metropolitan area is only 12% of South Korea.

The government has declared that it will implement two policies in this regard. ☝ Public institution relocation and ✌ medical school admissions expansion.

☝ Public institution relocation
Moving the administrative capital to the countryside
The government and ruling party have begun to move public institutions to other provinces. The intention is to disperse the population. Based on the examples of Washington and New York in the United States, there is an opinion that the city Sejong also mentioned ways to take over the administrative capital and Seoul as the economic capital. President Moon will report the detailed plans after reviewing the comprehensive plan. 

In fact, this is not the first time 😮
The government established the National Balanced Development Committee in 2003 and is striving for balanced national development.
In July 2012, Sejong was launched as a regional self-governing organization, and it serves as a multifunctional administrative city. According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, a total of 153 institutions moved to innovative cities across the country except for the metropolitan area in the first public institution relocation work.

When will it start?🏃
As the concrete scale has not been decided yet, it seems that it will take a long time to execute the previous one. Prior to the second public institution, they mainly focused on which of the 346 public institutions would go to which region. The government will decide carefully based on the nature of the public institutions and the demands of each region.

✌ Medical school admissions expansion
What’s going on?
The government and the ruling party decided to increase medical school admissions. From 2022, 400 more medical students will be admitted every year, and a total of 4,000 will be admitted over the next ten years. 

Why double the number? 
  • Health workforce shortage😰: There are 2.4 doctors per 1,000 people, which is lower than the average of OECD countries (3.5). It is the third-lowest among OECD countries after Columbia and Poland. Specific disciplines are suffering from the shortage even more. For example, the division of infectious diseases, which has played a huge role during the COVID-19 situation, has only 277 specialists in the entire country. The same goes for pediatric surgery. Only 46 surgeons are specializing in pediatric surgery.

  • Regional disparity 😷: There are 3.1 doctors per 1,000 people in Seoul, but 1.4 doctors in Kyeongbuk, which is more than two times less. Ulsan(1.5) and Chungnam(1.5) are also experiencing a severe shortage. The death rate that would not have occurred if the proper treatment would have been given per 0.1 million people is 29.6 in Gangnam, Seoul. However, in Kyeongbuk Yeongyang, it is 107.8.

Okay so admitting more students.. and then what? 
Out of the 400 added students each year, 50 will be assigned to a specific discipline such as 'major trauma'. Another 50 will be assigned to 'medical science' and the remaining 300 will be ‘local doctors’*. 
* Local doctors: Those who will study in universities in the provincial area and serve in the public health institution in that provincial area for 10 years. They will get a full scholarship but must return it if they don’t serve as a local doctor and their medical license will get canceled. Local doctors can only specialize in specific disciplines where there is a shortage of doctors.
Curious what doctors think...? 😦
There are many conflicting opinions. Some say that the government needs to take a look at the exact reason why doctors are avoiding specific disciplines or regions, before increasing the number. Others say that 4,000 extra students are still not going to be enough to solve the shortage. 
The possibility of additional countermeasures by Japan  
Don't even think about seizing. ✋
According to Japan's Kyodo News on July 25, the Japanese government is considering countermeasures against the South Korean Court's ruling in 2018 ordering Japanese firms to compensate for forced wartime labor*. This move is to prepare for the possibility that Nippon Steel Corp.'s assets will be seized and sold from August 4th. In July 2019, the Japanese government imposed regulations on the export of three key materials for semiconductors and display device manufacturing. 

 💬 If you want to know more about 'export regulations to S.Korea' issue: read this
  • Forced wartime labor: Korea was colonized by Japan from 1910 to 1945. Japan enforced a national law in 1938 which contained the forced labor clause. The number of Korean forced workers are estimated to be 1.13~1.46 million. Most of them worked in hazardous mines and military factories with poor working conditions. 

What are the procedures of compensation ruling? 
On Oct. 30, 2018, the South Korean Supreme Court sentenced Nippon Steel, one of the companies related to forced wartime labor, to compensate 100 million won each to 4 forced workers. However, the Japanese government claimed that Japan's enterprises are not responsible for compensation due to *the agreement on the right of claims between the republic of Korea and Japan in 1965. 

  • The agreement on the right of claims: A treaty signed in 1965 between Korea and Japan. South Korea received economic aid at that time in return for ending its claims on colonialization and war crimes. Because of this agreement, Japan argues the dispute was settled in 1965 when diplomatic ties were normalized between them. However, individual claims are valid according to the Korean Supreme Court's ruling in 2018.  
       💬 If you need more about this, you can also watch this video.

The Japanese government refuses to deliver the Korean court's decision including the application of seizure to Nippon Steel. Pohang local court issued a public notice of the asset seizure decision to the company on June 1, and after midnight on the 4th of next month, the court can begin the process of forcing the sale of the asset as a follow-up measure. 

What are the predicted countermeasures by Japan? 
  1.  Korean visa restrictions: But since Japan has already banned entry from Korea after the COVID-19 crisis, it could be less effective.
  2.  Summoning Japanese Ambassador to Korea, Tomita Koji, to Japan without setting a date for his return.
  3.  Regulations on the Korean Economy: Additional Tariffs on Korea's import and export.

The Korean government's stance on these measures
According to the Korean government's source, as there are many procedures left, it will take a considerable amount of time before the actual sale process to be implemented. It mentioned that the Korean government will keep watching Japan's movement.
😁Life hacks

😏Subscribe to a supermarket  
-Emart 24: Ice, water and coffee subscriptions for 7 or 14 days on the mobile app at a discounted rate.
-Lotte Confectionery: launched "monthly snacks" which provides you with different snacks every month. 
Wanna know more or subscribe? Click here (Korean)

🌳Where to go for a vacation?
-'Untact summer resorts' are gaining popularity. People are going to forests🌿 for a vacation now.
You can make a reservation at a natural recreation forest here (English also available) 
👉  Upcoming events
Korea·Spain, the 70th anniversary🙌 of diplomatic relations special exhibition: Eva Armisen
-Date: 2020.06.27~2020.09.20
-Location: Sejong Center for the Performing Arts
-Price: Adults (20+): KRW 15,000 / Youth(14~19): KRW 11,000 / Child(4~13): KRW 9,000
-Find out more here (Korean) 

🏂Busan biennale "An exhibition in ten chapters and five poems" 
Novelists, poets, artists, and musicians from 34 different countries are participating. 
-Date: 2020.09.05~2020.11.08
-Location: Busan Contemporary Art Museum, Old urban area, Young-do
-Find out more here

💎Seoul Arts Center: free symphony concert online stream 
-Date: 2020.07.28~2020.08.10 (Weekdays: 19:30~, Weekend: 17:00~)
-Watch it here 
-Find out more here

💘What's trending now

1. Rupee is here! 🙈 
Have you ever heard of the Korean animation 'Pororo'? One of Pororo's best friends, 'Rupee' is gaining popularity after being reborn as a meme. You might come across these images on social media. 

2. 사흘(Saheul)and 나흘(Naheul)? Koreans are also confused😖
When counting days in Korean, these pure Korean words are used:

하루 (haru) 1 day - 이틀 (iteul) 2 days - 사흘 (saheul) 3 days - 나흘 (naheul) 4 days etc.

Notice how 사흘 (saheul) and 나흘 (naheul) are extremely similar? 😨 Well, Koreans were confused as well, and therefore ‘사흘' (saheul) took the top spot on portal site Naver's real-time search results on the 21st. As August 17 was set as a temporary holiday, the media reported that there would be a holiday for "사흘 (saheul)”. However, people were confused about whether 사흘 (saheul) means '3 days' or '4 days' and started a debate.
The correct answer is of course '3 days' 😉 

3. Have you ever heard of '숨듣명'?
숨듣명 is an abbreviation for 곡 (listening to a hidden masterpiece). K-pop songs from 10 years ago are back and stealing the show. The lyrics and concepts, which were thought to be cool at that time, will make you burst out of laughter now. Try listening to one of these hilarious but addicting songs: 
ZE:A - “Mazeltov”, “후유증(Aftermath)”
Teen Top - “향수 뿌리지마 (No More Perfume on You)”
U-KISS - “시끄러 (Shut Up)”.

U-KISS's 시끄러 (Shut Up) has gained over 3 million views recently because of this trend 😲Check it out here
Also, you might not wanna miss these...😉
1. Busan was struck by heavy rain up to 83 mm per hour for 3 hours on the 23rd which caused massive property damage and several casualties. 👉Link

2. The Korean government will revise a law about disease prevention which lets foreigners bear their COVID-19 treatment fee. So far, the Korean government has paid all medical expenses for foreign COVID-19 patients. The medical expanse differs depending on the diplomatic relationship of the patient's nation with Korea, and the economic status of the patient's nation. 👉Link

3. A Chinese giant panda in Everland (amusement park) has given birth to a cub, which is rare for an endangered species. This is the first baby panda born in South Korea. 👉Link

4. The Korean government designated August 17 as a temporary national holiday, allowing workers in the nation to have three consecutive days off during a summer season that is expected to be dampened by the drawn-out fight against the COVID-19. 👉Link

5. Two South Korean military planes carrying 293 Korean nationals from Iraq arrived back in Korea, amid the severe novel Coronavirus outbreak in the Middle Eastern country. Among them, 86 people showed potential COVID-19 symptoms. The patients who were tested positive for COVID-19 will be transferred to a hospital or residential treatment center.👉Link

6. A Seoul taxi driver who caused public outrage by blocking an ambulance transferring an emergency patient was formally arrested on July 24th. The driver is suspected of intentionally colliding with an ambulance last month and delaying the transfer of the patient for roughly 10 minutes. The 79-year-old patient, who was brought to the hospital by another ambulance, passed away that night. 👉Link

7. After the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters eased restrictions for public facilities in the Seoul Metropolitan area, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced the reopening of cultural facilities under its umbrella including the National Museum of Korea from Wednesday on and national theaters and troupes will also resume performances. 👉Link

8. Funds are being raised for worldwide advertising efforts to criticize South Korean courts for their slap-on-the-wrist punishment of Son Jong-woo, the 24-year-old operator of Welcome to Video, the world’s largest child pornography website.  People are angered by Seoul High Court’s decision on July 6 not to allow Son’s extradition to the US and is now stretching across national borders.👉Link
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