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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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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.
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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 …
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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.
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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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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…
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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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Eurasian Diplomacy in Japan, 1997–2001Tōgō Kazuhiko

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of China in the 1990s, Japan’s leaders recognized the need for a more independent foreign policy adapted to the realities of the post–Cold War era. “Eurasian diplomacy” played a crucial role in this transition, as related by a former top Foreign Ministry official closely involved in the policy’s development and implementation under three successive LDP prime ministers.
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Korean Courts Order Japanese Firms to Compensate Wartime Laborers: Background to the RulingsKokubun Noriko

South Korean courts have recently issued several rulings ordering Japanese corporations to compensate wartime forced laborers. Tsukuba University Professor Kokubun Noriko examines the background to these rulings.
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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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