News & Politics
The pandemic has been going on for so long that international affairs observers nearly forgot that two of America’s closest allies in one of the most consequential regions in the world have been locked in a bitter dispute since 2018.
South Korea believes that its citizens who were victims of forced labor under Japanese occupation between 1910 and 1945 have the right to pursue legal cases against private companies that exploited their bodies. Japan believes that they do not have such rights. And both countries have been exchanging barbs that did not fully dissipate with the outbreak of COVID-19.
Indeed, things might actually get worse in the coming months. On June 1, South Korean courts secured legal grounds to liquidate assets of Japanese steelmaker Nippon Steel that are held in South Korea - and use them to compensate forced labor victims. The seized assets are not a lot of money for a conglomerate like Nippon Steel - approximately USD 330,000. But what is on the line is not money, but historical narrative.
Our guest today is University of Connecticut Professor Alexis Dudden who is the author of the fantastic book on this very subject titled “Troubled Apologies Among Japan, Korea, and the United States.” She joins KEI Vice President Mark Tokola for a timely conversation that highlights how these tensions are rising at a particularly bad moment in international relations - and why controversies over history between Korea and Japan are so difficult to address in the context of the respective countries’ domestic politics.
You can find Dr. Dudden's book here: http://cup.columbia.edu/book/troubled-apologies-among-japan-korea-and-the-united-states/9780231141765
And you can sign up for KEI's weekly newsletter here: https://share.hsforms.com/1WiX_to9IRh-DlnV68MV0sg2ztzy
Divided Families: Soojin Park, Paul Lee, Ambassador Robert King
The Ethics of Sanctions on North Korea: Hazel Smith
How North Korea Responds to a Black Swan Event: Markus Garlauskas
The Retreat (And Return?) of the United States: Gordon Flake
When Cold Warriors Sued for Peace: Mark Tokola
Lasting Legacies of An Unfinished War: James Person and William Stueck
The Miracle at Hungnam: Ned Forney
A Division No One Planned or Wanted: Charles Kraus
Defending Korea and a Letter to Pvt. Parker: John Stevens
Korean Baseball Comes to Bat in America: Mark Lippert, Eric Hacker, Daniel Kim, Dan Kurtz, Esther Lee, Troy Stangarone
The Last Transition Economy: Vincent Koen
Diplomacy or Readiness: Terence Roehrig
Succession in North Korea: Ken Gause, Chris Steinitz
Two Disappearances and a Funeral: Mark Tokola
Winning an Election during a Pandemic: Scott Snyder, Kang Insun, and Song Hochang
Going Together to Address a Pandemic: Marc Knapper
Public Health is Human Rights, Human Rights is Public Health: Ambassador Robert King and Greg Scarlatoiu
The Economic Fallout of a Pandemic: Troy Stangarone and Kyle Ferrier
The Rise, Stumble, and Rise of A Conglomerate: Geoffrey Cain
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