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About This Book
How Japan interacts with the two Koreas has implications not only for the three countries concerned but also for the peace and stability of the region and beyond. All three countries are important players in the world arena: Japan has the second largest economy in the world; South Korea, with the 11th largest GDP, is also a powerhouse in the global marketplace; North Korea, with its ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons capability, poses a palpable threat to the security of Tokyo, Seoul, and their common ally, Washington.
Against this backdrop, this book explores a set of intellectual puzzles. The largest of them all is why do states cooperate and why do they fail to do so? More specifically, why have Japan and the two Koreas found it so hard to forge friendly, cooperative relationships? Why has the Japan-South Korea relationship fared markedly better than has the Japan- North Korea relationship? In what ways have ideational factors helped to compensate for or eclipse material ones in the two sets of bilateral relationships?
On balance, the potency of such ideational variables as state or regime identity suggests that in so far as Japan and the two korean states are concerned, cooperation on large issues-notably, the resolution of the abduction issue between Tokyo and Pyongyang and the resolution of history-related issues between Tokyo and Seoul-remains tantalizingly elusive.
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