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Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon found dead

Statement from Jean Lee, Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy.

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon found dead

"This is devastating news -- for his family, for the city, for his party and for the country. 

But I'm also troubled by the complicated circumstances of his apparent suicide in the wake of a reported claim of sexual harassment from a former secretary. With his death, Mayor Park not only leaves behind a grieving family but also effectively silences his accuser. This could have a chilling effect on women seeking to put an end to the rampant sexual harassment that has long been a part of the South Korean workplace.

It's still early as we piece together his state of mind these past few days. But there's no doubt we will need to remember Mayor Park for all his complexities - his leadership and visionary ideas as well as the demons that may have led him to this end.

South Korea will again have to contend with its high suicide rate, the highest among OECD nations. His death brought to mind the suicide of lawmaker Roh Hoe-chan two years ago and, of course, the suicide of former President Roh Moo-hyun. Both had faced corruption charges.

Mayor Park death's and the resignation earlier this year of Busan's mayor show that South Korea still has to face a culture of harassment that the #MeToo movement has brought to light. 

South Koreans will have to find a way to mourn Mayor Park while also addressing the alleged actions that may have driven his decision."

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Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy

The Center for Korean History and Public Policy was established in 2015 with the generous support of the Hyundai Motor Company and the Korea Foundation to provide a coherent, long-term platform for improving historical understanding of Korea and informing the public policy debate on the Korean peninsula in the United States and beyond.  Read more