Haja Center (English&Japanese Blog)

‘Korea-Japan Youth Forum,’ Dealing with Current Youth Related Issues


written by Kimmy (Manager of International Liasion&Strategic Partnership Team)

Translated by Hayan, Jeon

Haja Center held ‘Korea-Japan Youth Forum’ from September 6th to 7th with the Youth Community Union, Youth Solidarity Bank, Seoul Social Standard, and Jogakbo, a local economic media. It was a venue where youths from both countries meet and discuss current issues and alternatives to resolve the issues. Here, A to Z of the forum including participants and reasons of holding the forum at this time are presented.

Both Korea and Japan are suffering from serious increase in youth employment rate and worsened situation in the labor market and poverty. Given that social safety nets are established based on welfare system and community, Korea might be experiencing more severe problems of lack and destruction of safety nets compared to Japan. As welfare policies and system have not been well made and communities making it up for have been rapidly destroyed the foundation enabling people to enjoy the minimum humane life have been collapsed. Especially ‘youths’ are exposed to these issues most. Most resources are concentrated on Seoul, capital of Korea, but youth issues have been also intensively raised because communities have been rapidly destroyed, which is a dilemma. Under the circumstances, youths are trying to seek an alternative safety net and create a safety net by revitalizing locality of a big city Seoul and restoring communities.

Korea-Japan Youth Forum focused on such current situation and it started from the meeting among youth groups who had gone through the sea change.

Youth Community Union, the first labor union for youths in Korea working to protecting labor rights of youths, and Youth Solidarity Bank preparing a youth cooperative and an alternative social safety net which makes youths be independent and help each other had discussion with Anti-Poverty Network with a theme of ‘social safety net created by youths’ from 2 ~ 5 pm on September 6th in Hahahuhu Hall in Haja Center. The current status of social safety nets for youths in an insecure labor situation and examples of youths proposing alternatives in both countries were introduced.

Jagakbo introducing traditional markets, social enterprises, and travel destinations through social webs and mobile applications and Seoul Social Standard which creates values of Seoul as the place where people reside without considering real estate as a tool to acquire properties had the session to share examples and visions.

Jagakbo believes that youths striving to be survived in cities where communities are destroyed need to be connected with local communities to restore their self-esteem. They also highlight that local small business owners and self-employees are the ones who create diverse jobs voluntarily in local industries. That is because small clues to resolve youth employment issues can be identified and further we can hold the key to restore communities as social safety nets when youths, local communities, and especially traditional markets are connected. To this end, Jagakbo talked with Future Link Network doing similar activities ahead of Jagakbo about how youths can be part of local communities and traditional market members, what kinds of roles they can and should play and how all this process is led to formation of social safety nets for youths.

In the same session, Seoul Social Standard presented about how natural local or residential communities should be considered by youths of the era. They explored new residential or local communities with Hituji Real Estate creating a new culture of residential community by encouraging ‘share house’ in Japan based on the question, ‘existing communities defined by distances or proximity are natural to youths who use smart phones and SNS in their daily lives?’

This forum concluded with the debate titled ‘Korea-Japan Forum – Conclusion and Proposal.’ In this debate, Youth Community Union, Youth Solidarity Bank, Jogakbo, Seoul Social Standard, Anti-Poverty Network, Future Link Network, and Hituji Real Estate who planned and participated the entire forum shared each other’s experiences and examples and suggested significant proposals. They will also think together about the ways to realize examples, experiences, and new tries discussed in the forum to make them policies and systems.

Holding a forum one time cannot change everything but it can be a starting point to change everything one by one. Actions taken by youths who make efforts to create a social safety net by themselves and their tries for revitalizing communities and local areas as a member of society will be a safety net and foundation for society as well as youths.


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