The background to recent Japan-Republic of Korea disputes

Cooperation between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) is crucial - not only because we are close neighbours, but also because it is a prerequisite for peace and stability in the region, including for addressing the issue of North Korea. But cooperative relationship is not a given; it requires constant attention and care, which Japan and the ROK have expended much effort on for many years.

Over time, both sides have built a close, friendly and cooperative relationship, based on the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the ROK and other agreements that the two countries concluded when they normalised ties in 1965. However, our two countries are now facing difficulties concerning the issue of former civilian workers from the Korean Peninsula during World War II.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2019, with the headline 'The background to recent Japan-Republic of Korea disputes'. Print Edition | Subscribe