The Korea-Japan Forum was initiated in 1993, when South Korean President Kim Young-sam and Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa called for the formation of a new, forward-looking relationship between the two countries. The forum was modeled after the Shimoda Conference (a private forum on bilateral relations established in 1967 and sponsored by JCIE) and was designed to address common issues and challenges that the two neighboring countries will face in coming years. Leading citizens from Japan and Korea in the fields of politics, government, business, academia, the nonprofit sector, and media attended the first forum in Seoul on December 5–7, 1993.
Since then, the forum has taken place annually and is held alternately in Korea and Japan, bringing together about 50 policy experts, government officials, legislators, journalists, business executives, and civil society leaders from the two countries. In 2015, the inaugural Korea-Japan Youth Forum was held, bringing together mentors from the main forum with around 18–20 young participants each year to discuss key issues facing the two countries.
This continuing dialogue has played a critical role in promoting mutual understanding and expanding the network of cooperative relationships between the two countries.