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ILC2021 Japan, Session VIII – Japan-Korea Cultural Dialogue

Japan-2021-07-31-ILC2021 Japan, July 31: Session VIII – Online Youth Session

Tokyo, Japan—The July International Leadership Conference 2021 (ILC2021) hosted by UPF-Japan concluded with an online youth session held on July 31. The eighth session of the conference titled, "Japan-Korea Next Generation Forum,” was co-sponsored by the Youth and Students for Peace (YSP), an affiliated organization, in Japan and attended by 30 young men and women; among them, half-Japanese and half-Korean youth as well as Japanese youth who had studied in Korea.

The four panelists discussed the prospects for peace on and reunification of the Korean Peninsula and how Japan can contribute to it. 

How to improve strained relations between Japan and South Korea was also explored. Three panelists who have been working on promoting friendship between Japan and South Korea gave presentations on three topics related to this: (1) “Differences in History Education Between Japan and South Korea,” (2) “Difference Between National Character and Relationships,” and (3) “What Both People Can Do to Promote Friendship Between Japan and South Korea.”

For the first topic, presentations were given by three young people who received history education in South Korea. They explained that Japanese and South Korean textbooks present different accounts and viewpoints of the same events in history.

For the second topic, three panelists spoke about the differences between Korean culture, which values ​​emotions, and Japanese culture, which values ​​harmony. They also discussed how Korean people relate to colleagues like family.

For the third topic, the panelists and participants considered what Japanese and Koreans can do to improve relations and promote friendship between Japan and South Korea. There was an opinion that it is important for the peoples of both nations to understand each other’s history and national character.

Finally, Mr. Hiroaki Takeuchi, president of YSP-Japan, praised the fruitful discussion and highlighted that it was based on real experiences that youth had in both countries.  He also proposed more discussions among young people, the next generation, be organized.

One of the participants shared a reflection: “Opportunities like this to discuss the differences between Japan and South Korea are very valuable. We would like to [develop] this friendship into a movement that extends beyond our community to the general public.”

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