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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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“Hafu” Filmmaker Spotlights Bicultural Japan

The recent film Hafu documents the lives of five bicultural Japanese. Nippon.com spoke to one of the film’s two directors, Nishikura Megumi, to learn more about the film and the motivation behind it.
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The Strategic US-Japan-Korea Triangle: Emerging Perils and Prospects for CooperationKent Calder

Developments over the past two decades have made the challenge of trilateral cooperation more difficult for the United States and its two Northeast Asian partners, Japan and South Korea. Washington should promote major initiatives to improve the three-way relationships.
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A More Confident Japan in a Strong Alliance: Michael Green Speaks

The international scene in East Asia remains fluid, but the new government in place in Tokyo is showing an energetic approach to economic policy and a more stable hand on the tiller of diplomacy. We spoke to the international affairs expert Michael Green about his views on Japanese politics and the country’s place in the regional and global picture.
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