South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol plans to send a group of parliamentarians to Japan to “establish a foundation on North Korean policy and resolve pending issues between South Korea and Japan.” This comes at a crucial time in international affairs as the disputes between South Korea and Japan are recorded as the “Achilles Heel” to the trilateral alliance between them and the U.S., whom, with Biden as President, is pushing for a more Asian-oriented foreign policy for containing a belligerent China and North Korea.  Issues surrounding the history of Japan’s colonization of Korea, including but not limited to payments towards Korean sex slaves, forced labor, Japanification, etc. are a key dispute in relations since Japanese nationalism has steadily risen over the last few decades and members of Japanese academia, political class, and judiciary have denied these historical facts. Other issues such as releasing waste water from the Fukushima power plant and Japan tightening exports to South Korea have further soured relations between the two countries. Once the Ukrainian invasion is over, the Biden administration will shift its full focus on China, and with the upcoming Quad summit in Japan on May 24, relations must improve between Japan and South Korea so they may maintain a consistent policy against China’s proxy in North Korea while the Quad itself and other Southeast Asian nations can have their full focus on China.

-Ryan Llufrio