President Moon Jae-in has promised to significantly expand employment through the public sector. However, since this uses tax money, it actually does not contribute much to the ``virtuous cycle'' of the economy. Businesses are primarily responsible for job creation, and this must be accompanied by economic revitalization to support this creation. Furthermore, the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution requires a new paradigm, and innovative thinking is also needed to create jobs. As one of these, I would like to propose the construction of an undersea tunnel between Korea and Japan.
If the Korea-Japan Tunnel is built, it will create an astronomical number of jobs. Also, according to the Busan Development Research Institute, the construction industry is worth 13 trillion won (approximately 1.3 trillion yen), the construction materials industry is 13 trillion won, the wholesale and retail and service industries are 4 trillion won (approximately 400 billion yen), and the leather and chemical industries are worth 13 trillion won (approx. 1.3 trillion yen). The total economic effect on the Korean side is expected to reach 54 trillion won (approximately 5.4 trillion yen), including 4 trillion won in the industrial machinery sector and 1 trillion won (approximately 100 billion yen) in industrial machinery. In addition to this, it is also expected to have the effect of increasing employment by 450,000 people. In the construction industry, the Korea-Japan Tunnel is ranked first among projects expected to generate large profits in 2020, followed by the Korea-China Tunnel in second place and the Saemangeum Project (a tidal flat reclamation project in Jeollabuk-do) in third place.
The Korea-Japan tunnel also has significant secondary effects. First, an infrastructure network will be built in Northeast Asia, which will bring together South Korea, China, and Japan, and is expected to stimulate trade within the region. On the other hand, the Korea-Japan Tunnel will not serve as a foundation for Japan's expansion into the continent, as some fear.In fact, it will serve as a major catalyst for the transformation of the Korean Peninsula into a transport hub for Eurasia. The effect of incorporating Japan, which has a population of 120 million people, into domestic demand should also be significant. We cannot remain stuck in closed-minded, defeatist thinking forever. For South Korea to become a super hub, it must master platforms, one of which is the Korea-Japan Tunnel. If we take the first step towards the future now, this will be recorded as a great achievement for the current administration.
Park Sung-yeol (World Peace Tunnel Foundation advisory board member)
This article can be viewed on the website below or as a PDF.
Chosun Ilbo (Korean)
Chosun Ilbo Japanese version