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A Study on Korean Large Capitals in 1960s: focusing on the Introduction of Foreign Capital from Japan and Systematic Response

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2017, (128), pp.487-536
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

Jungeun Lee 1

1역사문제연구소

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The military government under the banner of rapid economic development tried to introduce foreign capitals. Pursuant to the regulations on the international economic order at that time, private capitalists played a leading role in negotiating and introducing loans which made up a majority of foreign capital. Korean businesses preferred to introduce foreign capitals through negotiation with Japanese companies. However, under the military government, it was impossible under the laws to introduce foreign capitals from Japan because the diplomatic relations between Korea and Japan had not been normalized yet. Nevertheless, there was an influx of applications by private capitals for loans from Japan both to the Korean and the Japanese governments. Such a high demand for capital exchanges between Korean and Japan led to the enactment of laws to permit foreign capital transactions even before the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries, resulting in the political settlement of the diplomatic relations between the two countries earlier than expected. Meanwhile, the Korea Businessmen's Association (KBA) focused on the projects to establish its reputation such as a project to attract investments of Korean residents in Japan in export industries in the early stage of negotiation for the normalization of inter-governmental relations between Korea and Japan. However, as the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries continued to be delayed, it was in the vanguard of supporting the conclusion of the Korea-Japan treaty. The KBA emphasized the importance of growth strategy through the international division of labor with Japan as well as the international political environment where the Korea-Japan cooperation is inevitable, arguing that “the Korean people are opposed to the treaty because they do not understand the reality.” At the same time, as an organization which represents the private sector of the Korean economy, it took the lead in operating the exchange channel with the Japanese business circle and occupied the center place to obtain various types of information and rights and interests. After the normalization of the diplomatic relations between Korea and Japan, Japanese loans began to be introduced in earnest. However, the voices of concern for the large scale inflow of Japanese capitals grew bigger. The KBA proposed such measures as limiting the permitted ratio of investment by foreigners, preferential treatment for domestic enterprises. It also succeeded in having its proposals included in the newly enacted foreign capital introduction law. It changed its name to the Federation of Korean Industries in the late 1960’s. Afterward, when the government established the Masan Free Export Zone, it succeeded in persuading the government to adopt regulations on the types of businesses allowed in the free export zone and the restriction on the size of business which are favorable to domestic large capitals. Such an interrelationship with the government was the foundation on which Korea, unlike other underdeveloped countries, could adopt the growth strategy focusing on domestic large capitals rather than the direct inward investment of foreign capitals.

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