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ILC2021 Japan: Opening Session

Japan-2021-06-22-ILC2021 Japan: Opening Session

Tokyo, Japan—The opening session of UPF’s International Leadership Conference 2021 (ILC2021) in Japan, held on June 22, discussed Think Tank 2022, a network of experts from all sectors and areas of expertise who are dedicated to exploring opportunities for Korean reunification, and ways in which Japan can contribute to peace on the Korean Peninsula. The coordinators of the International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP), International Association of First Ladies for Peace (IAFLP), International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP), and International Association of Academicians for Peace (IAAP) in the country presented at the event, which was attended by around 50 people.

The session began with remarks from UPF-Japan Chairman and ISCP-Japan Coordinator Mr. Masayoshi Kajikuri, who said, “The demarcation line of the 38th parallel, which after the Korean War has played a decisive role in peace and stability in East Asia, including in Japan’s postwar reconstruction, cannot be ignored.” He pointed out that paradigms for peace and stability in the region cannot be made without considering the issues surrounding the Korean Peninsula, and expressed hope that Think Tank 2022 would gather valuable knowledge going forward.

IAAP-Japan Coordinator Mr. Kiyoshi Nakayama, secretary general of the Professors World Peace Academy in Japan, outlined the changes that have occurred in the world’s civilizations and said that the 21st century ushered in a new age centered on the Pacific Rim. He continued, saying that a country with a free and open political system, that maintains communications with the international community and that has trade relations that benefit all parties will be at the center of this new civilization. In this respect, China could not shoulder this new civilization. Mr. Nakayama also stated that Japan, a maritime nation which has embraced and helped develop both Eastern and Western civilizations, must continue to play its part. He stressed the urgent need for a strategic policy for the Korean Peninsula to be established through cooperation among Japan, the U.S. and South Korea as well as among the Quad countries (Japan, the U.S., Australia, and India).

One ongoing issue between Japan and South Korea relates to the controversy over school textbooks in both countries. IAFLP-Japan Coordinator Mrs. Moriko Hori spoke about the efforts that have been made between the two governments on this so far and pointed out that “government-led joint research neither promotes understanding nor improves relations.” She underscored the need to put more focus on promoting friendly bilateral relations that: 1) consistently encourage mutual understanding by Japan being attentive to assertions made by South Korea while conveying its views and circumstances in a careful manner; 2) promote activities initiated by UPF co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon that foster friendship between Japan and South Korea to political leaders; and 3) carry out activities that can further advance friendship between Japan and South Korea at the private level.

IAPP-Japan Coordinator Mr. Yasushi Matsumoto, secretary general of the Association of Ambassadors for Peace in Japan, introduced the briefings on the Korean Peninsula that were held with members of the Japanese National Diet. He shared a report from a Diet member who spoke about the importance of Japan, the U.S. and South Korea developing a North Korea policy as well as strengthening exchanges and expanding networks between Japanese and South Korean parliamentarians. In addition, the Diet member mentioned his interest in the role of the Japan-South Korea Tunnel project, which one candidate in the recent Busan mayoral election promised to support amid the growing concern in South Korea over China’s hegemony and that “(today’s) Hong Kong and Taiwan [could] become tomorrow’s Korea.”

Following the presentations, comments were received from the participants, many of whom expressed the necessity of reaffirming the interests shared by Japan and South Korea, amid the growing threat from China.

To go to the Japan ILC Session 1 report, click here.

To go to the Japan ILC Session 2 report, click here.

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