Japan and South Korea on the Brink: Escalating Friction Amidst an Uncertain World

Friday, October 18, 2019
1:00 PM - 4:45 PM

Bechtel Conference Center
Encina Hall, First floor, Central
616 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305


Japan and South Korea enjoyed a period of relatively stable trade and diplomatic relations, with expanding trade, deepening cultural and social ties, and a consistent but relatively managed level of friction. They both remain critical US allies in the region, with North Korea’s security threats and the rising power of China creating uncertainty in the regional security landscape. However, the sudden escalation of diplomatic and trade disputes between South Korea and Japan has alarmed numerous observers, angered people in both countries, and is generally confusing to many around the world to whom the two countries seem to have much to lose and little to gain by this escalation.

This event will shed light into the critical questions surrounding this current conflict. What has been the historical trajectory of the two countries’ diplomatic and trade relations? Is the current escalation part of the historical pattern of cycles of conflict and tension, or an aberration? What are the underlying forces at work that are driving the conflict? Are these new forces, or the same historical forces coming to a head? How much are factors from the international environment, such as the behavior of the United States, influencing the current escalation of trade conflict? What are the domestic political dynamics at work in each of the countries? What has been the historical role of the US in the South Korea-Japan relationship, and is it different this time? This conference brings together experts in the international affairs and trade relations of South Korea, Japan, and the United States. 

This event is sponsored jointly by Japan Program and Korea Program at the Shorenstein APARC, Stanford University.


1:00pm-1:05pm         Opening Remarks, Gi-Wook Shin, Director of Shorenstein APARC, Stanford University

1:05pm-2:25pm         Panel 1 – Diplomacy and International Relations


Kak-Soo Shin, former Korean Ambassador to Japan

Hitoshi Tanaka, Chairman of the Institute for International Strategy at the Japan Research Institute, ltd.

Joseph Yun, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the State for Korea and Japan; former Special Representative on North Korea

Kenji Kushida (Moderator), Research Scholar, Shorenstein APARC Japan Program, Stanford University

2:25pm-2:45pm         Panel 1 Audience Q&A

2:45pm-3:00pm         Break

3:00pm-4:20pm         Panel 2 - Trade Issues                   


Yukiko Fukagawa, Professor, School of Political Science and Economics at Waseda University

Seokyoung Choi, former Korean Ambassador to WTO and UN in Geneva; former Deputy Minister for Trade

Aiko Lane, Executive Director of the US-Japan Business Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Yong Suk Lee (Moderator), Deputy Director, Shorenstein APARC Korea Program, Stanford University

4:20pm-4:40pm         Panel 2 Audience Q&A

4:40pm-4:45pm         Closing Remarks, Gi-Wook Shin, Director of Shorenstein APARC



Pay parking spaces for the event will be available in the Galvez Event Lot and parking instructions including walking directions from the Galvez Lot to Encina Hall will be sent out to all registered attendees the week of the event.


Required by 10/17/19. Limited seating available.

Registration link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/japan-south-korea-on-the-brink-escalating-friction-amidst-an-uncertain-world-tickets-72308158649


If you are part of the media and attending the event, please contact Noa Ronkin at noa.ronkin@stanford.edu