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Japan-South Korea Relations and Prospects for a U.S. Role in Historical Reconciliation in East Asia

Date & Time

Jan. 11, 2016
9:00am – 12:00pm ET


6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
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Expectations are high that a landmark agreement on the legacies of World War II reached between Japan and South Korea will allow the two countries to further bilateral relations. Under the December 2015 agreement, Tokyo and Seoul stated they reached a “final and irrevocable resolution” regarding Korean women who were forced to serve as sex slaves under Japanese occupation. The deal is expected to allow the two countries to work more closely together on issues of mutual concern amid a rapidly changing economic, political, and security landscape in East Asia. For the United States too, successful implementation of the agreement is critical to bring its two closest allies in the region together and to establish a strong trilateral alliance that would work together to face common challenges. In this forum, scholars of history and international relations will discuss how to address issues of historical contention, and they will also discuss what role the United States could play to ensure that historical reconciliation between South Korea and Japan continues to move forward.

9:00am to 10:30am

Panel 1: Prospects for a New Framework to Assess Historical Legacies


Toyomi Asano: Former Wilson Center fellow and Professor of Political Science, Waseda University

Alexis Dudden: Professor of History, University of Connecticut

Sung-Yoon Lee: Professor in Korean Studies, Fletcher School, Tufts University

Park Yu-ha: Professor, Sejong University

Moderator: Blair A. Ruble, Vice President for Programs, Wilson Center

10:30am to 12 noon

Panel 2: U.S. Challenges and Opportunities to Enhance Trilateral Cooperation


Christine Kim: Associate Professor of Asian Studies, Georgetown University

Mike Mochizuki: Associate Professor of Political Science, George Washington University

Naoyuki Umemori: Professor of Political Science, Waseda University

Moderator: Jordan Sand, Professor of Japanese History, Georgetown University

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