Japan-South Korea relations are in crisis. The two countries are at odds over the interpretation of the treaty and agreements that liquidated 35 years of colonial rule and led to the normalization of relations between Japan and South Korea in 1965. In Japan, many people are interpreting this as the unchecked policies of South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his left-leaning administration.

Giving the situation a little more thought, however, makes clear that this crisis is hardly new, nor is it the result of a new South Korean government. In August 2011, the Constitutional Court of Korea criticized South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (now the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) for its “nonfeasance” over the “comfort women” issue. In May 2012, the Supreme Court of South Korea recognized the right of ex-conscripted workers to make personal claims. Both of these incidents occurred during the Lee Myung-bak administration.

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