Presidency and Prime Ministership of Conservative Leaders as the Threat to South Korea-Japan Relations

Presidency and Prime Ministership of Conservative Leaders as the Threat to South Korea-Japan Relations

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Presidency and Prime Ministership of Conservative Leaders as the threat to South Korea-Japan Relations

South Korea and Japan have a long and complex history of cultural exchange, war, and political rivalry; most remarkably, the late 19th century and the early 20th century were considered as an unfortunate period between the two countries.
It was until the late 20th century that South Korea’s rapid industrialisation since the 1970s, her democratisation in the 1980s, and Japan’s economic stagnation since the 1990s have brought about qualitative changes in this bilateral relationship.
Democracy of South Korea and Japan, their market economics, their high-tech industrial structures, and their national security policies placing their alliances with the United States at the core have made relations between these twin states in East Asia become tighter and tighter in this early 21st century; however, the relations have sunk to a low point not seen since the Cold War era due to the presidency and prime ministership of the two conservative leaders, President Park Geun-hye and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe respectively.
Why have relations between Seoul and Tokyo dramatically turned worse under the regimes of President Park Geun-hye and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe?
In December 2012, Shinzo Abe, a member from conservative Liberal Democratic Party, were formally re-elected as Japan’s prime minister, ending a three-year break from decades of near-constant rule by his party. In his first term starting from 2006, Prime Minister Abe refrained himself from conducting any provocative action towards his neighbours; unfortunately, his first prime ministership was marked by economic stagnation and corruption scandals that led him to step down aft...


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... symbolic gesture on 26 December — the first anniversary of his own return to power. The visit, in other words, is all about Shinzo Abe, his ideology and his ambitions.
Regarding Abe’s shrine visit, a source close to the South Korean Embassy in Tokyo expressed the view that it will be difficult to improve bilateral relations while Abe is in power, and South Korean government’s efforts have come to nothing due to Abe’s shrine visit.
President Park made it clear on several recent occasions that she would not hold a summit with Prime Minister Abe unless Japan took new steps to address lingering grievances in Seoul about Japan’s wartime misdeeds.
Since the United States criticized Abe’s Yasukuni visit by using a strong tone, including the word “Disappointed”, it is prospected that China may try to drive a wedge into the gap between Tokyo and Seoul and Washington.

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