As the North Korean threat has grown, so has the case for greater cooperation between South Korea and Japan. Observers have noted, and in some cases bemoaned, the lingering historical hostility that prevents more robust cooperation. Despite the emphasis on their historical differences, both countries share a tragic experience: the abduction of nationals by the North Korean regime. Unfortunately, the issue has not promoted common purpose and resolve. Instead, the failure to coordinate on this issue has hindered diplomacy without enhancing the chances of a resolution to this tragic issue. By increasing governmental and civic cooperation, Japan and South Korea as well as the U.S. can build trust, deepen ties, and recognize common values while at the same time enhancing the effectiveness of their diplomacy.
“Abductees in South Korea and Japan: Enhancing Trilateral Cooperation,” in Pivotal Issues in Korea-Japan-U.S. Relations, Perspectives from Emerging Leaders. Mansfield Foundation (2017): 63-70.