JCIE and the Korea Foundation convened the 25th meeting of the Korea-Japan Forum in Seoul this year, bringing together more than 50 participants from both countries, including influential politicians, businesspeople, scholars, journalists, and representatives of private exchange organizations. Discussions were held on the themes of “The Security Situation in Northeast Asia and Japan—South Korea Cooperation,” “Trends in Domestic Affairs and Foreign Policy,” and “The International Economy and Bilateral Economic Cooperation.” Immediately prior to the meeting, it was confirmed that North Korea had launched an ICBM, and therefore North Korea’s actions and the response from the Trump administration were weighing heavily on everyone’s minds, and they stressed the need for cooperation to ensure regional peace and stability.
Participants also urged a toning down of the rhetoric on the historical issues in order to strengthen strategic cooperation. They urged an improvement in commercial and economic ties through the conclusion of a bilateral FTA and through South Korea’s entry into the TPP, and an expansion of private-sector exchanges to foster more mutual understanding between the younger generations in the two countries.
On the final day, 20 undergraduate and graduate students from both countries were brought together for the 3rd Korea-Japan Junior Forum. The students broke into groups for frank exchanges and then presented their proposals to the senior forum participants. Among their recommendations were such unique ideas as having junior and senior high school students from Japan and South Korea study English together in a third country, and the creation of a youth-oriented website that would promote tourism to the less visited rural areas in both countries.
The Korea-Japan Forum Award honors individuals for their contributions to the development of relations between the two countries. This year, the award went to Choe Suh Myun, director of the Institute for Korean Studies. Choe opened the Korea Research Institute in Tokyo in the 1970s, an era marked by tensions in Korea-Japan relations. Through the work of the institute, Choe led the way for research on Korea within Japan, discovering important historical records related to Korea-Japan relations. He is recognized for his tremendous contribution to stabilizing bilateral relations by building understanding between leading figures of the two countries.
About the Korea-Japan Forum
The Korea-Japan Forum was initiated in November 1993 during a summit meeting between South Korean President Kim Young-sam and Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa, where they called for the formation of a new, forward-looking relationship between the two countries. The forum is designed to address common issues and this continuing dialogue has played a critical role in promoting mutual understanding and expanding the network of cooperative relationships between the two countries. JCIE and the Korea Foundation serve as the secretariats. The forum takes place annually and is held alternately in Korea and Japan.