By Kim Se-jeong
The N Seoul Tower turned blue for an hour in the evening in observance of World Autism Awareness Day on Wednesday.
The tower on Mount Nam was one of seven landmarks across the country that joined the "Light It Up Blue" campaign to raise awareness of autism.
Participants included Wando Tower, Dolsan Bridge and Jindo Bridge in South Jeolla Province; the World Light Expo theme pavilion in Gwangju; and Incheon Bridge and the game company Hangame's headquarters in Bundang, southern Seoul. Blue is the favorite color of people suffering from autism.
Moon Hyung-pyo, the welfare minister who attended the light-up ceremony at the tower, vowed to push for passage of a bill to assist people with development disorders.
Autism is a neural development disorder whose symptoms become apparent when a child reaches age 3. Common symptoms are impaired social interaction and verbal and non-verbal communication.
Wednesday's campaign was an international one with 3,000 landmarks in 50 countries participating.
The Eiffel Tower in France, The Sydney Opera House in Australia, Niagara Falls and the Empire State Building in the United States, pyramids in Egypt and Tokyo Tower are traditional participants. Observation of the event in Korea began last year.
During the ceremony, the welfare ministry honored private companies that have either contributed to the awareness campaign or employed people with the disorder. The N Seoul Tower, Naver Corp., Daelim Industrial Co., IBM Korea and Daum Communications were among those recognized.