South Korea Population: 48,379,392 Life expectancy: 79.05 years Fertility rate: 1.

25 children/woman School life expectancy: 17 years Religion: No Religion (46.5%), Christianity (29.3%), Buddhism (22.8%), Other (1.4%) There has been a growth in Christianity in Korea; since 1984, the number of churches has doubled from 30,000 to 60,000! There are also 10,000 Korean missionaries sent out every year. Praise the Lord.

Concerns Air Pollution During the first two decades of economic boom, Korea failed to recognize the harmful effects of rapid industrialization on the environment. One of the major problems the government has trouble dealing with is acid rain. South Korean companies lack the expertise to install the required desulfurizers at their plants. The land is small and big buildings have replaced trees, which might help with cleaning up the environment. Corruption Korea’s corruption index is a 4.2 on a scale of 0 (being most corrupt) and 10 (being honest). Many Korean presidents have been sent to jail after their term for swindling and taking advantage of their positions, while others have simply ended their own lives. Bad Economy Dwindling job opportunities and mounting social crises have led to a suicide rate of 36 per day. This makes suicide the fourth cause of death in the country. Many foreign investors have lost confidence in the South Korean economy, and therefore consumer sales have fallen, even during peak sale times. The government has announced their first trade deficit in 11 years and has let the value of the Korean won fall. Low fertility rate A low fertility rate causes a rise in the average age, increasing the pressure on a shrinking work force. The government is offering cash incentive to parents who have children.

Head of Government: President Lee Myung-bak Before being elected to the presidency, Lee Myung-bak was the CEO of Hyundai and the mayor of Seoul. Before becoming mayor, he was a member of the National Assembly, but resigned before being fined 4 million won for breaking election law. After being elected mayor, his most noticeable projects include the creation of the Seoul Forest as well as adding to the rapid transit buses in the city’s transportation system. On May 10, 2007, Lee declared his intention to run for the Grand National Party as president. There were rumours that Lee profited from illegal speculation on expensive land in Seoul, but the allegations were never proved. A few days before the election, Lee donated all his assets to society. Despite even further allegations about his corruption, Lee won the presidential election by a landslide. Lee is considered widely proU.S. He wants to engage North Korea through investment. But his approval ratings have dropped down to 32.8%. Lee has been called “authoritarian”, “pro-big business and antilabor.”

Prime Minister: Han Seungsoo Han Seung-soo was a professor of economics before being elected to the National Assembly in 1988. After holding various positions from ambassador to the US to chief of staff to Deputy Prime Minister, he was elected the President of the UN in 2001. He also served as Special Envoy on Climate Change for UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon. He became Prime Minister when Lee Myung-bak took office. Even though there was controversy and protests regarding a deal to import beef from the US, Han was able to keep his job. Han is 72 years old and a Roman Catholic.

Suggested prayer topics • • • • • • • • Pray that Korea’s leaders will make wise decisions about uniting with or remaining separate from North Korea. Pray for servant-hearted leaders who pursue God without the distraction of building impressive churches and growth statistics. Pray for the integrity of police officers, politicians and judges as they fight for a better society Pray the pastors would discover the greater need for ministries in the less glamorous, less comfortable rural locations. Pray that Korean Christians would not lose their passion for prayer. Pray for the abolition of the death penalty. Pray for more jobs with better pay and less hours for the people of Korea. Pray for the environmental reform and better sanitation, which results in a high infant mortality rate.