by WorldTribune Staff, February 11, 2018
NBC issued an apology after one of its Olympics correspondents infuriated Koreans by saying “every Korean” is thankful for Japan’s key contributions in the resurgence of South Korea as a nation.
NBC Asia Correspondent Joshua Cooper Ramo made the comment during the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9, setting off a firestorm on social media.
Ramo, who also did analysis for NBC Sports during its coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, is vice chairman and co-chief executive of Kissinger Associates, the consulting firm of former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. He is also a director of Starbucks Corp. and FedEx Corp.
In a statement read live on NBCSN on Feb. 10, anchor Carolyn Manno said: “During our coverage of the Parade of Nations on Friday we said it was notable that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the trip to Korea for the Olympics, ‘representing Japan, a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945 but every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.’ We understand the Korean people were insulted by these comments and we apologize.”
Ramo’s “ignorant” and “insensitive comment about Korea’s history has enraged many of [Korea’s] people,” Jung Min-Ho wrote for The Korea Times.
MSN reported that the comment “led to widespread anger and tens of thousands of angry social media posts.”
One viewer wrote on NBC News Facebook: “Your comments about Korea are absolutely rubbish. After decades of human rights violations, exploiting our resources, and attempts to destroy our heritage, Japan is nowhere close to being thanked, but absolutely despised.”
Another post said: “Apologize to Koreans! Koreans do not look to Japan as a positive example, especially based on Japan’s inhumane treatment toward Koreans during their illegal and immoral occupation.”
Jung wrote for Korea times: “During Japanese rule (1910-1945), many Koreans suffered enormously, often from rape, forced labor, torture and death. The issue of the comfort women, the victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery, is one of the many atrocities that occurred during that period. Few Koreans would agree with what Ramo said of Japan.”