How to break the Japan-Korea impasse

The bilateral relationship between Japan and the Republic of Korea—two key US allies in Asia—is deteriorating rapidly. Japan has implemented export restrictions on three materials critical to Korea’s high-tech industry and has removed Korea from its “white list” of countries that benefit from preferential treatment on export of sensitive products, effective August 28, 2019. The Supreme Court of Korea has ordered Japanese companies to compensate colonial-era forced laborers, and Korea may decide not to renew its annual military information-sharing pact with Japan, the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA).

On July 25, 2019, the Atlantic Council’s Asia Security Initiative (ASI), housed within the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, hosted a strategy session with a small group of top US experts and officials to discuss ways forward and offer actionable, practical policy recommendations to the United States to help mitigate bilateral tensions and resolve the ongoing confrontation between Japan and Korea.

Related Experts: Miyeon Oh and James Hildebrand

Image: South Korean President Moon Jae-In is welcomed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe upon his arrival for a welcome and family photo session at G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool