South Korea’s Justice Ministry has called on prosecutors to reexamine the death of actress Jang Ja-yeon, who committed suicide in 2009. She left a note claiming that she had been sexually abused by high-profile figures in the entertainment industry. The case was one of five that the ministry recommended on Monday should be reopened.
Jang, then 29, had a supporting role in the Korean hit TV series “Boys over Flowers.” Her suicide note identified so-called sponsors, who help talent get roles in popular TV series and films. Her seven-page note listed at least 31 names of corporate executives, major newspaper representatives, and directors whom she claimed she was forced to have sex with against her will.
When the case was initially investigated nine years ago, the prosecution indicted only the CEO of Jang’s agency and manager on violence and defamation charges. Another ten people on the list were investigated, but not charged. The investigation concluded that Jang had been suffering from depression and ruled her death as suicide.
As the #MeToo Movement has gained momentum in Korea, women’s groups have urged the case’s reinvestigation. A petition calling on government to reopen the case has received some 200,000 signatures.