Japan's colonial rule of Korea from 1910 to 1945 was a humiliating part of history for all Koreans. It ruled with an iron fist and suppressed human rights in order to mobilise all resources in the Korean Peninsula for its war in the Pacific. South Koreans are particularly upset at their fellow citizens who collaborated with the Japanese. As police or soldiers of the colonial government, they were at the forefront of the suppression, arresting and even torturing those who took part in the resistance. Therefore, it is understandable that the government of President Roh Moo-hyun should seek to identify the collaborators as part of efforts to find the truth about that period. Until now, that dark side of Korean history has never been fully revealed for the sake of social stability. The ruling Uri Party is especially enthusiastic about the project, as most members are young idealists who believe history cannot progress without grappling fully with the controversial issues of the past. Indeed, the party spearheaded the enactment of a new law allowing investigations into the behaviour of suspected collaborators. So when this week it was revealed that the father of party chairman Shin Ki-nam was one of them, everyone was shocked. One magazine reported that Shin's father was in the military police during the latter years of colonial rule, while another report claimed he was personally involved in torturing those who fought for independence. Yesterday, Mr Shin resigned from his party post. While many Koreans were forced into these acts of suppression, the problem with this case is that Mr Shin lied many times in public about his father's past, claiming - when earlier reports surfaced - that his father was just a teacher. At the same time, Mr Shin attacked opposition conservative party chairwoman Park Geun-hye, whose father, the late president Park Chung-hee, was an officer in the Japanese Imperial Army. In fact, the ruling party waged a social crusade to 'set history straight' as part of its campaign to distance the new government from the previous corrupt or authoritarian regimes. But what many people saw behind this crusade was a political ploy to damage the image of the opposition camp. Ms Park is seen as a strong contender for the presidency in 2007. Her father's leadership, during which time South Korea achieved remarkable growth, is missed by many, with the nation in the economic doldrums. But as can be seen from the case of Mr Shin and his father, hardly anyone is immune from the misdeeds of the past. While it is necessary to seek the truth, investigations should be carried out with the sole purpose of setting the record straight, and not to attack one's political enemies.