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Timeline for June 2015

A passenger commits suicide by setting himself on fire on the Shinkansen, the Japan Pension Service suffers a massive data leak, and Japan and South Korea mark 50 years since the normalization of diplomatic relations. These are the main news stories for Japan in June 2015.

Looking Ahead to the 2015 Round of Historical AnniversariesKawashima Shin

Years that end in 5 have been the occasion of many key events in Japan’s modern history. Just to cite a few prominent examples, the Treaty of Shimonoseki was signed in 1895, ending the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–95. Ten years later, in 1905, the Russo-Japanese war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth. World War II ended with Japan’s defeat in 1945. In 1955, the Liberal Democratic Pa…

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.

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.

Timeline for October 2014

Three Japan-born researchers win the Nobel Prize in Physics, a Japanese journalist is indicted for defamation in Seoul, and two newly appointed female cabinet ministers resign. An overview of the key news stories for October 2014.

Chilling Changes in the Japan–South Korea RelationshipRoh Daniel

“In 10 years, even the rivers and mountains change.” This saying is deeply imprinted on the Korean psyche. If we accept this idea, then perhaps we have no call to rue the changes that have taken place in the post–World War II relationship between Japan and Korea. After all, the world of human affairs is even more variable than the world of nature. Half a century has passed since the normalization …

Yasukuni Shrine: the Basics

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine on December 26, 2013, was the first by a Japanese leader for seven years and drew fierce criticism from China and South Korea. What started as a place to honor those who fell while fighting the Tokugawa shogunate has become a center of controversy in East Asian relations. This article presents the key historical, religious, and political information regarding the shrine.

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.

Ferry Disaster Deals a Blow to Korean ConfidenceRoh Daniel

US President Barack Obama visited South Korea on April 25 and 26, immediately after his two-night, three-day state visit to Japan. But the timing of his trip to Seoul could hardly have been worse. He arrived not long after the tragic capsizing of a Korean ferry, the Sewol, in the Yellow Sea off the southwest Korean coast. Obama touched down in Seoul to find President Park Geun-hye and her fellow…

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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