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Song Hye Kyo refuses to endorse Mitsubishi

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Many HR professionals would agree that any company’s consumer brand and employer brand are increasingly becoming interconnected.

As such, the pressure rises for organisations to ensure they treat employees well to avoid any losses or negative publicity.

The recent case of Korean pop-star Song Hye Kyo, the star of the megahit drama, “Descendants of the Sun,” turning down a a huge sum of money by Mitsubishi to be the firm’s new model explains it all.

Song’s refusal stems from her belief that Mitsubishi is an irresponsible employer, Korea Times reports.

The Japanese company is involved in a lawsuit over allegedly forcing Korean labourers to work for it during the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945.

“Mitsubishi hasn’t taken responsibility for its past actions yet, right? That means I am not going to be modeling for them,” said Song.

For her anti-Mitsubishi stance, Song received a thank-you letter from a former forced labourer.

The letter, released by a civic group for victims of forced labour under Japan’s occupation of Korea  thanked the actress for her “great work that even the country’s president couldn’t have done.”

ALSO READ: Mitsubishi’s “sincere apology” rejected

It was penned by Yang Geum-deok, an 88-year-old woman who said she had been deceived and forced to work at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries aircraft manufacturing plant at Nagoya at age 14.

“Hearing the news, I shed tears. I was so happy as if a big nail wedged deep in my heart has finally been pulled out,” said Yang. “I thank you for your courageous act and I feel that I could even fly if only I had wings.”

Yang, who had been deceived by the Japanese head of her school, was sent to the forced labor camp with 138 students from other schools in 1944 and forced to work for Mitsubishi at its aircraft manufacturing plant for nearly 18 months without pay.

She also wrote that she was rescued but that six other Korean students died in an earthquake that hit the plant six months after their arrival.

“What matters to me and other survivors of forced labor is not the money. My first and foremost wish is to receive an apology from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Mitsubishi. Without it, I cannot rest in peace,” said Yang, pledging to fight until her death.

Image: Shutterstock

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