By Chang Dong-woo
SEOUL, July 19 (Yonhap) — South Korean actor Song Joong-ki on Wednesday applauded his fiance and fellow actress Song Hye-kyo’s decision to decline an ad sponsorship offer from Mitsubishi Motors over the company’s association with forced mobilization of Korean laborers during the second World War.
“I first learned that Hye-kyo declined the offer from the news. It was an act worthy of applause in my mind,” Song told reporters at a press conference for “The Battleship Island” at CGV-Yongsan theater in central Seoul.
The film depicts Koreans’ desperate attempt to escape coal mines on Japan’s Hashima Island where they were forced to work during World War II, when Korea was a colony of Japan. It features A-listers Hwang Jung-min, So Ji-sub and Song Joong-ki and actress Lee Jung-hyun.
Song Hye-kyo, who co-starred in KBS 2TV’s mega-hit drama “Descendants of the Sun” with Song Joong-ki, rejected a modeling offer from the Japanese automaker in April of 2016, as the Mitsubishi Group was involved in a lawsuit over the alleged use of Korean forced labor during Japan’s occupation of Korea.
“A person with a rational mind would have done the same. She became someone I love, and looking back from my heart I truly believe the actions she took were right,” said Song Joong-ki. The real-life celebrity couple announced earlier this month they are getting married in October.
The South Korean government has confirmed 122 Koreans have died on Hashima island during World War II. Despite Seoul’s diplomatic efforts to prevent it, Hashima Island was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in July 2015.