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The Year Ahead in East Asia: China’s Regional Vision and Domestic PoliticsKawashima Shin

Looking back over the past year, one major issue of contention in East Asia during 2015 was history. It was a year of various major historical anniversaries—70 years since the end of World War II, 50 years since the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and South Korea, and 40 years since the end of the Vietnam War. And naturally enough, the moves that were made to mark these anniv…
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Seoul’s Last-Minute Campaign to Derail Japan’s World Heritage BidKimura Kan

The dispute between Japan and South Korea regarding historical perceptions became the source of a major tussle over the bid for inclusion of the “Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution” in the World Heritage List. The sites were added to the list, but meanwhile Seoul won international attention for its position on Japan’s wartime conscription of Korean laborers.
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President Park and the “Sankei Shimbun”: Plenty of Blame to Go AroundŌishi Yutaka

South Korea’s indictment of a Sankei Shimbun reporter on charges of defaming President Park Geun-hye has drawn sharp international criticism from the standpoint of freedom of the press. Media expert Ōishi Yutaka offers a fresh perspective on the incident, exploring the political context and raising serious questions of journalistic responsibility.
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APEC Summit in Beijing Brings Minor Thaw to Japan-China Relations

The first formal talks between Japanese and Chinese leaders in two and a half years took place on the sidelines of this month’s APEC summit in Beijing. Prime Minister Abe Shinzō and President Xi Jinping spoke for the first time since assuming leadership, marking an upturn for frosty bilateral relations. This article summarizes the key points of the latest summit and the 25-year history of APEC.
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Japan’s Foreign Policy Options Following Asahi’s “Comfort Women” RetractionTōgō Kazuhiko

What can the Japanese government do to resolve the comfort women issue? Blaming fabricated media reports will do little to change international opinion. Its only choice is to achieve reconciliation with former comfort women while they are still alive.
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The Curious Solidarity Between China and KoreaOgoura Kazuo

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Seoul in early July offered a curious display of friendship between two governments that have every reason to view one another with suspicion. What political and strategic considerations have brought China and Korea together? Beijing’s basic strategy in Asia is to impress its neighbors with its economic power and deepen their dependence on China. The numb…
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Can Korea Overcome the Blow of April 16?Ogoura Kazuo

The sinking of the Sewol passenger ferry on April 16 this year shook South Korea to its very core. On the surface, the political, economic, and social impacts of the accident seem quite clear. Politically speaking, Korea has seen a crisis of confidence in its government rooted in the clumsy handling of the accident and its aftermath, as well as fresh doubts about the nation’s capacity for crisis …
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Reading Between the Lines of Obama’s Asia Tour

US President Obama’s four-country tour of Asia was not all smooth sailing. No final agreement was reached with Japan on the TPP free trade talks, and in South Korea all eyes were turned to its unprecedented maritime disaster. Still, the United States made steady progress in the objective of solidifying its position in Asia, including the US military’s return to the Philippines for the first time in 22 years.
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Japan, Korea Participate in First Summit Since 2012

On March 25, trilateral talks among the leaders of Japan, South Korea and the United States were held in The Hague. Convened at the request of US President Barack Obama, the talks were the first formal meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō and South Korean President Park Geun-hye since the two took office. Will this prove to be a step toward a more lasting thaw in relations between these neighbors? Here we trace some of the notable recent developments that led to this stage.
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Why Can’t Seoul and Tokyo Get Along?Kimura Kan

The current severe chill in Japan–South Korea relations contrasts with the relative warmth when Abe Shinzō started his first term as prime minister in 2006. The causes of the difference lie in the changes that have occurred in South Korea’s circumstances in the interim.
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