Relations between Japan and South Korea have descended to a new low. To be sure, the downward trend in Japan’s ties with its closest neighbor is not new: Even after the two countries first agreed on a “future-oriented relationship” when Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and President Kim Dae-jung met in 1998, Japan and South Korea have gone through cycles of rising diplomatic tensions over history issues and mutual attempts to put the relationship on a more constructive path. The most recent cycle began in August 2012 when South Korean President Lee Myung-bak visited the Takeshima islets (called Dokdo by South Korea), whose sovereignty is disputed by the two countries.
This article was originally published by The Japan Times on March 31, 2019. Read the full article here.