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Sejong Policy Briefs

Solutions to Reconstruct ROK-Japan Relations
2019-08-28 View : 495 JIN Chang Soo
Solutions to Reconstruct ROK-Japan Relations

 

 

[Sejong Policy Brief No. 2019-11]

Jin Chang Soo

Director, Center for Japanese Studies,

the Sejong Institute

jincs@sejong.org

 

 

Executive Summary

 

The systemic change: the ROK-Japan relationship in the ‘New Normal’ era

- Japan's compounded distrust against South Korea: the composite mix of discontent on the forced laborers issue, anxiety regarding Sough Korea’s North Korea policy, and fatigue over Korea

- South Korea remains passive in its policy toward Japan

 

Mutual distrust is the reason behind the worst collapse of the ROK-Japan relations

- Lack of will to improve the relationship on both sides

- Diplomatic courtesy aside, lack of communication

- Both are being swallowed up into the vicious cycle of nationalism and populism

 

Absence of the United States

- Trump's indifference and the internationalization of the ‘Trump phenomenon’

 

The Abe regime is tempted to improve the DPRK-Japan relationship; ‘Two Koreas policy’

- Deterioration of the relationship with ROK reflects Japan's diminished aversion to direct negotiation with North Korea

 

The ‘tough-against-tough’ situation will be continued for a while

- The situation may endure to be a ‘kingmaker’ factor for Abe

- South Korea’s diplomatic difficulty will also be continued

 

The ROK government must establish principles in our policy toward Japan

- The government must detach history from economy, and in the short run, must play a role in minimizing the economic damage. The history issue should be handled through continuous dialogue with Japan in the long term.

 

Counter-strategies for the ROK government

- Two-pronged strategy for economy: appeal to the international society while securing allies within Japan

- 1+1+@ for history: What should be the role of the government?

- The most important is determination by the heads of each government

 

Translator’s note: This is a summarized unofficial translation of the original paper which was written in Korean. All references should be made to the original paper.

This article is written based on the author’s personal opinions and does not reflect the views of the Sejong Institute.