December 2023
26 27 28 29 30 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 1 2 3 4 5 6

ILC2021 Japan: Session I - Political and Academic Perspectives

Japan-2021-06-24-ILC2021 Japan: Political and Academic Perspectives

Tokyo, Japan—Session 1 of the ILC2021—Japan program was a special webinar held on June 24 on the theme “What Kind of Policy on the Korean Peninsula Should Japan Adopt? Political and Academic Perspectives.” Around 70 people joined the event which featured three panelists from government and academia.

UPF-Japan Chairman Mr. Masayoshi Kajikuri gave the welcoming remarks. He touched on the fact that the Korean War, the 70th anniversary of which was last year, played a major role in stabilizing what is today Northeast Asia and shaping international order, and underlined that policies towards South Korea should not be formulated without considering the effects of the Korean War on the development of today’s Japan. He also expressed his hope that the webinar would be an opportunity for participants to share and acquire knowledge and consider how Japan should deal with the Korean Peninsula.

Following Mr. Kajikuri’s remarks were the presentations from the panelists.

The first speaker was Prof. Yoshihide Nishikawa, a Research Fellow of the Institute of Social Sciences of Toyo University, who presented on “Japan's Strategic Policy Toward South Korea.”

Prof. Nishikawa stated that “Japan-ROK relations is not just a matter between the two nations; it is also a major issue for cooperation among the three countries of Japan, the U.S. and South Korea as well as is a peace and security issue for not only the Asia-Pacific region but also the world.” He pointed out that no measures have been developed yet to improve bilateral relations.

He also said Japan’s foreign policy stance toward South Korea, at the most basic level, should 1) not shut down dialogue and exchange no matter the topic or issue; 2) create an environment for honest dialogue, and; 3) explore ways of coexistence by accepting differences without falling into the illusion that both countries closely resemble each other. He admitted that improving bilateral relations in a short period of time would be unfeasible. However, simply displaying a “pseudo-alliance,” or a relationship of goodwill, would put pressure on China and Russia.

Furthermore, Prof. Nishikawa specified the need for the following political measures: 1) Japan-ROK 2+2 talks (meetings between the foreign and defense Ministers of both countries); 2) Japan-U.S.-ROK trilateral 2+2 talks; 3) regular Japan-ROK summit meetings; and 4) regular Japan-U.S.-ROK summit meetings. After these initiatives are carried out, he proposed the “KPUO” (Korean Peninsula, Peaceful Unification Organization) be formed as a consultative committee to discuss such policies as the Korean Peninsula unification process and economic development of the North.

Prof. Nishikawa presented other proposals from various perspectives for improving and strengthening economic ties between Japan and South Korea. These include bolstering relations that support the economic and technological fields of each country, developing human resources with knowledge from Japan and Korea, expanding tourism and cultural awareness in both countries, and promoting youth exchange.

The next speaker was Hon. Hirohisa Takagi, a former member of the House of Representatives of Japan. He pointed out that China, with its enormous economic power, is intensifying its hegemony by threatening to clamp down on the citizens of Hong Kong and their demands for democracy as well as invade the Senkaku Islands and Taiwan.

Referring to the Japan-U.S. summit that took place between U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in Washington, D.C. in April of this year, Hon. Takagi said it was of great significance that Japan and the U.S. reaffirmed their commitment to deal with China by discussing Japan’s defense capabilities, their concerns over China not conforming to the international order, and the importance of stability and peace in the Taiwan Strait.

He also mentioned the meeting between President Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in May and said it reaffirmed the historical and security interests the two nations share.

Hon. Takagi added that facing growing threats, East Asia is currently at the frontline of danger, and emphasized that Japan and South Korea must share the view that the significance of the Korean Peninsula is only increasing.

The final speaker was Mr. Yoshizumi Asai, a lecturer at Doshisha University. His presentation addressed the “Peaceful Unification of North and South Korea and Cross-recognition.”

Mr. Asai spoke of how the division of the Korean Peninsula into North and South began unfolding when the U.S. insisted at the Yalta Conference in 1945 that the Soviet Union join the war against Japan. He pointed out that both sides did not intend the 38th parallel demarcation line to be lasting, but rather that there be a four-country partnership involving Japan and China.

With this understanding, when considering approaches to unifying the two Koreas, “South and North Korea should take the initiative. But, an international framework of cooperation among the four countries of Japan, the United States, China and Russia should also be created,” Mr. Asai emphasized.

Mr. Asai explained “cross-recognition” as one approach that could be taken. Cross-recognition refers to Japan and the U.S. recognizing North Korea, and China and the Soviet Union recognizing South Korea for the stability of the Korean Peninsula, but this has not materialized due to the domestic political situations in Japan and South Korea, as well as deteriorating Japan-ROK relations.

In 1990, South Korea and the Soviet Union established diplomatic relations, which led North Korea to start to normalize its diplomatic relations with the U.S. through nuclear diplomacy. However, worsening Japan-ROK relations affected the Japan-U.S.-South Korea partnership and these relations did not progress.

Mr. Asai stressed that Japan should formulate policies related to the Korean Peninsula from the perspective of providing assistance in improving cross-recognition as well as U.S.-North Korea relations, under the alliance among Japan, the U.S. and South Korea.

A lively Q&A session followed the presentations.

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

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

If you find this page helpful and informative please consider making donation. Your donation will help Universal Peace Federation (UPF) provide new and improved reports, analysis and publications to you and everyone around the world.

UPF is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization and all donations are tax deductible in the United States. Receipts are automatically provided for donations of or above $250.00.

Donate to the Universal Peace Federation: Your donation to support the general programs of UPF.

Donate to the Religious Youth Service (RYS): Your donation will be used for service projects around the world.

Donate to UPF's Africa Projects: Your donation will be used for projects in Africa.