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Jeju Island civic groups urge US to apologize for ‘April 3 Massacre’

Civic groups from Jeju Island are calling for the US government to apologize for the military-led massacre that took place on the island 70 years ago.

Groups representing the bereaved families and the history of Jeju Island gathered at the US Embassy in Korea on Tuesday to call for an official apology for the incident that claimed over 30,000 lives on Jeju Island in the post-World War II period between 1947 and 1948. It is referred to as the “April 3 Incident” or “April 3 Massacre.” 


Oct. 17 marks the day when Korean Maj. Song Yo-han, who stood guard over Jeju Island under the command of the US military, issued a decree to shoot down anyone who walked within 5 kilometers from the coastline. This later lead to the introduction of an ordinance that resulted in a large-scale massacre.

Marking the 70th anniversary since the decree, the civic groups said then-US commander on Jeju Island, Rothwell H. Brown, did not care about the cause behind the people’s uprising, but only about suppressing the movement.

The groups argued that Brown played a critical role in escalating tensions on post-war Jeju Island that ultimately led to a mass murder.

The civic groups are petitioning to gather 100,000 signatures through online and offline portals for the US and UN to form an investigative body to uncover the truth behind the massacre and come up with a guideline on appropriate measures to aid and compensate the victims.

The first round of signature gathering is taking place until March 2018. The second round will take place between April 2018 and October 2018.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (
Korea Herald Youtube