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  • Author: Ji-Young Lee, David C. Kang
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The final quarter of 2007 was eventful and left observers in both Japan and South Korea cautiously optimistic about bilateral relations. Both Japan and South Korea chose new chief executives this fall, and both of them promised to search for more collaboration and to begin repairing relations between the two countries. Halting progress on North Korean denuclearization through the Six-Party Talks led to hope that momentum could be sustained, although Japan for the time being has chosen to be supportive but skeptical of North Korea's promise to denuclearize, and continued its sanctions against the DPRK. Indeed, North Korea's missed deadline for declaring its nuclear programs was a reminder that progress in relations with North Korea is never straightforward or easy. Although no country has decided to forego the process, it is unclear how relations between North Korea and other states in the region will evolve in 2008.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Japan, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Nicholas Szechenyi, Michael J. Green
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Japanese domestic politics was in turmoil this quarter due to a divided legislature and the opposition's efforts to block several key pieces of legislation in an attempt to force Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo out of office. The deadlock centered almost exclusively on economic issues, much to the dismay of U.S. investors who have increasingly begun to question the ability of the political leadership in Japan to manage the economy. The Fukuda administration signaled Japan's sustained commitment to the U.S.-Japan alliance and a leadership role in international security by passing a bill re-authorizing Maritime Self Defense Force (MSDF) refueling operations in the Indian Ocean. But a collision between an MSDF Aegis-equipped destroyer and a fishing boat near Tokyo in February, coupled with continued fallout from a bribery scandal last fall, forced the government to focus more on structural reform at the Defense Ministry at the expense of new policy initiatives. Rape allegations against a U.S. soldier stationed in Okinawa and the detainment of another as a murder suspect sparked demonstrations against the U.S. military presence in Japan, though the two governments worked closely to prevent a crisis. Bilateral coordination on the Six-Party Talks continued and there were hints of renewed interest in a trilateral consultation framework with South Korea. Several events in Washington were dedicated to the U.S.-Japan alliance and brought public attention to pressing issues and ideas that might inform a bilateral agenda going forward.
  • Topic: International Security, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Washington, India, South Korea, Tokyo
  • Author: Ji-Young Lee, David C. Kang
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Japan's relations with both North and South Korea improved over the past quarter. In conjunction with the North's June declaration of its nuclear activities, there was renewed momentum in resolving the two biggest pending bilateral issues between Tokyo and Pyongyang – the North's nuclear development program and the abduction issue. Bilateral talks resumed in mid-June after more than six months of no progress. The second quarter also marked a fresh start for Tokyo and Seoul as President Lee's Myung-bak's visit to Japan – the first since December 2004 by a South Korean president – marked the resumption of so-called “shuttle diplomacy.” The summit between Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo and President Lee produced agreements on several bilateral issues, including the stalled bilateral FTA negotiations, closer coordination on policy regarding North Korea's nuclear development program, and youth exchanges.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Japan, South Korea, North Korea