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Opening a New Age in Korea-Japan Relations

Special lecture by Kim Young-Sam, former President of the Republic of Korea
Held by the Waseda University Organization for Asian Studies

Former President Kim Young-Sam

On June 12th, a special lecture was given by Kim Young-Sam, former President of the Republic of Korea. The lecture was entitled “Opening a New Age in Korea-Japan Relations”, and was held at the Ono Memorial Auditorium on the Waseda Campus.

In the opening of his lecture, Kim addressed the question of how Korea and Japan should exist when faced with the major changes taking place in Northeast Asia, such as the remarkable growth of China. Kim stated that the two countries should not have a confrontational presence, but rather should give even higher praise to each other’s strong points and change to a presence of mutual love. Later in his lecture, he referred to the island of Takeshima (“Dokdo” in Korean), which has become a problem of both countries. Kim made clear his opinion that for the good of friendly relations in both countries, there must be no further voicing of suspicions regarding the island. Kim also introduced the presentation of a Korean researcher which concluded that Koreans are closely genetically related to the Japanese, and expressed the relationship of the two countries as “brothers of Asia”. He strongly emphasized that, in order to contribute to human beings in Asia and throughout the world, it is necessary for both countries to form a partnership and work to resolve the global-scale problems which we face.

After the lecture was finished, there were many questions from Waseda students and researchers, including many Korean exchange students. When asked for advice regarding the point for a partnership between Japan and Korea during China’s current rise to power, Kim stated that the democratic philosophy shared by both countries must be put at the forefront of appeals.