Attempts by Edwin O. Reischauer, University Professor to influence the South Korean government to permit the departure of opposition leader Kim Dae Jung have so far failed to produce the Korean's release.
Reischauer flew to Seoul, South Korea, November 17 to help Kim obtain a passport to come to Harvard for post-doctoral work.
In Seoul Reischauer met with Kim, but a plane delay forced him to miss his appointment with the Korean vice foreign minister. Reischauer did talk with the Korean ambassador to Japan prior to his trip, and to the Korean ambassador in America after his return about the release of Kim.
Reischauer said yesterday that he was not sure of the effect his trip might have on Kim's departure, but "it might help to push things towards an early release."
Kim, who received 42 per cent of the vote in an unsuccessful race against Korean president Park Chung Hee in 1971, was offered a Harvard fellowship last summer. His matriculation was delayed when he was kidnapped to Korea last August from Japan where he was living in exile.
He was subsequently placed under house arrest in Korea for 71 days before he was freed October 27.
The abduction of Kim led to accusations by both political parties in Japan that the South Korean Central Intelligence Agency was involved. Reischauer said that the Japanese government applied tremendous pressure to the Koreans to release Kim from house arrest.
"Kim still plans to come to Harvard but as long as he remains in Korea, he is in grave physical danger," Reischauer said.
Lee Keun Pal, Kim's executive secretary in Washington, said Tuesday that Koreans who have come to the United Nations for a December session on the korean situation have speculated that Kim might be set free by the first part of December.
Reischauer described Kim's trip to Harvard as an opportunity "to keep intellectually alive for the time when a democratic movement becomes possible again in Korea.