The End of the '65 System
October 3, 2019 2:22 PM Subscribe
Blogger T.K. provides a six-part look at the history of South Korean-Japanese relations and the rise and fall of the system shaped by the 1965 Treaty on Basic Relations. (Although not limited to any specific current events, this series may be of particular interest to those trying to understand how a major trade war arose from a South Korean Supreme Court decision upholding the right of victims of forced labor under Japanese rule to sue the companies that victimized them.)
- Part I: Colonial Times
- Part II: The '65 System
- Part III: The Rise of the '65 System
- Part IV: The '65 System's Decline
- Part V: The End of the '65 System
Part VI: Taking Stock
The ’65 System is dead—but Americans are slow to wake up to this fact. Much of the foreign policy circles in and around Washington DC still think South Korea and Japan can patch things up quickly and get on as they did before July 2019. They argue: it’s about point-scoring in the domestic politics by stoking the nationalistic passion. Moon Jae-in and Abe Shinzo are being childish over ancient history. South Korea and Japan ought to be natural allies, sharing a common bond as liberal democracies to stand up against the threats of China and North Korea.
But why would Abe Shinzo or Moon Jae-in need more political points? Abe is the longest serving prime minister in Japanese history with three re-election victories, and Moon is the most popular president in South Korean history whose approval rating at one time was over 80 percent. Abe did not begin the trade war to become more popular with the Japanese, and Moon did not say “we will never lose to Japan again” to become more popular with Koreans. Neither Abe nor Moon is using history to be popular; they are popular because they are focused on history.
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments