Next week will mark the 66th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice. On July 27, 1953, representatives from North Korea and United Nations Command — the multinational coalition formed in 1950 to counter North Korean aggression — signed the agreement and brought an end to three years of fighting that claimed at least 2.8 million lives, both military and civilian. Despite its brutal cost, the war earned the nickname the “Forgotten War” outside of the Korean Peninsula and has been treated as an epilogue to World War II, both at the time of the conflict and in historical memory afterward.

Among the oft-overlooked features of the Forgotten War was the role of Japan, a nation still reconciling its defeat in World War II. Given the recent deterioration of ties between Japan and South Korea, it’s worth remembering Japan’s contribution to the coalition effort in the Korean War, if for no other reason than to recognize how deeply intertwined these two countries’ security interests are in the modern era. The stability of the Korean Peninsula has and will continue to be critical to Japan, and Japan still stands to play a vital role in support of coalition operations against North Korean aggression if diplomacy should fail as it did nearly 70 years ago.

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