Event Details

EICN Seoul -

The way forward for two awkward neighbours: Korea-Japan relations

In 1965, two decades after the end of the Japanese colonisation of Korea brought about by the conclusion of the Second World War, Japan and South Korea normalised diplomatic relations, starting a period of mutual trade, investment and growth that has continued unabated. Now, almost 60 years later, there are still some unresolved thorny issues between the two close neighbours: the so-called "comfort women", wartime forced labourers, and the sufficiency of official Japanese apologies for the colonial period.

Yoon Sok-yeol, president of South Korea, announced that his government and Japan had found a solution to all outstanding matters. The details involve a compensation fund paid into mostly by South Korean and some Japanese companies on a voluntary basis, and a reiteration of Japan's 1998 statement of deep remorse and heartfelt apology. As a result, it seemed the freeze had thawed and Mr Yoon met with Japan's prime minister Mr Kishida in the first bilateral summit in a dozen years.

But the deal remains a hard sell in South Korea, with a recent Gallup poll showing that 59% of Korean respondents were opposed to the compensation plan. Will Mr Yoon be able to persuade enough of the South Korean public that this is the best way forward for the two liberal democracies in this time of global and geopolitical tensions and bloc formation? Will the deal stick longer than the current administration, or will Japan-Korea ties resume their familiar hot and cold cycle when someone from the opposition assumes the presidency?

How are businesses in South Korea and Japan viewing things from the ground? Is this the break they have been waiting for? Join us and a panel of experts as we try to explore the short- to mid-term future for these two key North Asian economies.


7:30 AM - 8:00 AM
Registration and Networking
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
Breakfast and panel discussion


Conrad Seoul, Studio 4 (Level 6)

10 Gukjegeumyung-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu,
Seoul, Korea (South)

If you have any questions please contact EICN North Asia

Contact Organizer

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  • Eunjung Lim (Associate Professor at Division of International Studies, Kongju National University)

    Eunjung Lim

    Associate Professor at Division of International Studies, Kongju National University

    Eunjung Lim is an Associate Professor at Division of International Studies, Kongju National University (KNU). She also serves as Vice President for International Affairs, Dean of Institute of Korean Education and Culture, and Dean of Institute of International Language Education at the same university.
    Her areas of specialization include international cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, comparative and global governance, and energy, nuclear, and climate change policies of East Asian countries.

    Since 2018, she has served as a board member of Korea Institute of Nuclear Nonproliferation and Control (KINAC), and currently serves as a member of Policy Advisory Committee for Ministry of Unification. She is also the chair of Japan Studies Committee of The Korean Association of International Studies.

    She earned a B.A. from the University of Tokyo, an M.I.A. from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

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  • Kang Naeyoung (Senior Researcher at Korea International Trade Association)

    Kang Naeyoung

    Senior Researcher at Korea International Trade Association

    Dr. Kang Naeyoung is Senior Researcher in the Analysis & Forecasting Department of the Institute for International Trade (IIT), part of the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), where she performs input-output analysis, trade structure analysis, and quantitative analysis.

    She is regularly consulted by Korean media to talk about Korea’s international trade situation. KITA opened its office in Tokyo in 1948, the year the Republic of Korea was founded.

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  • Ra Jong-yil (Chair Professor at Dongguk University)

    Ra Jong-yil

    Chair Professor at Dongguk University

    Professor Ra Jong-yil was Ambassador to Japan from 2004 to 2007 and to the United Kingdom from 2001 to 2003. He has also served in numerous government posts, and holds a PhD from Cambridge University. He is now Chair Professor at Dongguk University, and a writer and commentator on public affairs in the Republic of Korea.

    He completed his BA and MA at Seoul National University before coming to Cambridge to complete a PhD at Trinity College. Later he became a Professor at Kyung Hee University and a Fullbright Senior Fellow of USC.

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  • Tomioka Junichi (Korea Country Manager at Höganäs AB)

    Tomioka Junichi

    Korea Country Manager at Höganäs AB

    Junichi Tomioka is a Korea Country Manager and APAC regional Operation Director at Swedish Company Höganäs AB.

    Previously, he worked for two Japanese companies and one U.S. company, Toshiba, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and Honeywell.

    His experience includes leading heavy construction projects such as nuclear power plants and the launch of production lines in the automotive industry in multiple countries such as Japan, South Korea, China, Europe and U.S..

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  • Jacco Zwetsloot (Network Moderator, Seoul at Economist Intelligence Corporate Network)

    Jacco Zwetsloot

    Network Moderator, Seoul at Economist Intelligence Corporate Network

    Jacco Zwetsloot has lived in Korea for 20 of the last 25 years, with a broad range of work experience in the communication, legal, tourism, training and broadcasting sectors. He has worked as an English teacher, a tour guide for the US military, a regular radio show guest, and a translator of North Korean propaganda. Currently, Jacco works as a content creator for a communications consultancy Insight Communications Consultants, hosts a weekly podcast about North Korea, moderates panel discussions, writes a monthly Korean newspaper column and still leads occasional lunchtime walking tours in downtown Seoul for the Royal Asiatic Society Business & Culture Club. Jacco holds a Master of Arts degree in Korean Studies from Leiden University, a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies from Monash University and a separate Bachelor of Arts in Modern European Studies and German Language from the University of Melbourne.

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