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2010年8月30日 (月)

日韓併合100年 協調と競争の未来へ向けて

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Aug. 30, 2010)
Japan, ROK must partner, compete for future
日韓併合100年 協調と競争の未来へ向けて(8月29日付・読売社説)

People of the Korean Peninsula, who were ruled by a different people, must regret the fact that their country was taken away and their pride was trampled upon. These feelings apparently are a source of the Korean people's strong sense of rivalry with and resentment against Japan.

Without Japan truly understanding these sentiments, its good-neighbor diplomacy will never come to fruition.

The Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty became effective 100 years ago, on Aug. 29, 1910. The world was in an age of imperialism at the time and Japan, like other imperialist countries, kept up with the tide of the times and colonized the peninsula.

It is an undeniable fact that Japan's 35-year colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, until Japan's World War II defeat, still casts a shadow over the present-day Japan-South Korea relationship.

Earlier this month, ahead of the Aug. 29 centenary, Prime Minister Naoto Kan issued a statement expressing "deep remorse and heartfelt apology." This is because he places importance on the Japan-Korea relationship.

Japan must build a relationship with South Korea in which the two countries cooperate and compete each other.


Impressive postwar growth

When Japan and South Korea normalized diplomatic ties in 1965, the two countries confirmed the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty to be "already null and void" and thereby entered a new relationship.

Using funds provided by Japan, South Korea built dams, ironworks and expressways, and threw its energy into exports.

South Korea has transformed into an economically advanced country, achieving political democratization and affluence. Its society has diversified, and the now wealthy nation has changed from being a recipient of assistance to a country that provides it to others.

Japan and South Korea are trade partners, and each maintains an alliance with the United States as its main axis of national security. The two countries also share values such as the market economy and democracy.


International leadership

In November, South Korea will host a Group of 20 summit meeting while Japan will host a summit gathering of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Tokyo and Seoul play increasingly greater roles and have larger responsibilities when it comes to ensuring the world's stability and prosperity.

The two countries should never miss mutual opportunities and should strengthen their cooperation.

How to establish a stable relationship with economic and military superpower China is a heavy task for both Japan and South Korea.

The two countries also must appropriately respond to North Korea--a destabilizing factor in the region.

It appears increasingly necessary that Japan and South Korea build a future-oriented bilateral relationship that is not mired in the past.

However, difficulties remain. Japan and South Korea, because they are neighbors, have deep relations rooted in history, and their sentiment toward each other tends to be complex. Japanese people feel increasingly more kinship with South Korea every year, but South Koreans still have a deep-seated distrust of Japan.

In fact, pending issues between Japan and South Korea such as the territorial dispute over the Takeshima islets remain unresolved and a source of repeated diplomatic tension between the two countries.

Overcoming those difficulties is an assignment for both Japan and South Korea as they head into the next 100 years of their relationship.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 29, 2010)
(2010年8月29日01時19分  読売新聞)


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