S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Institute for Japanese Studies(일본연구소) Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies vol.4 no.1(2018)
Chun Doo-hwan Administrations Diplomacy towards Japan: The Origin of the Draft Proposal for the ROK-Japan Security- Economic Cooperation
- Jo, Yanghyeon
- Issue Date
- Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol.4 No.1, pp. 221-252
- ROK-Japan security-economic cooperation; Fifth Republic of Korea; diplomacy toward Japan; Tanaka Kakuei; Chun Doo-hwan; Seikanron; Debate to Invade Korea
- This article seeks to illustrate South Koreas diplomatic strategy towards Japan, ROK-Japan relations, and the mutual perceptions South Korea and Japan had toward each other during the Fifth Republic (1981-88). Through process-tracing the case of the early drafting process of the ROK-Japan security-economic cooperation (1981-83) proposal, implemented during the Chun Doo-hwan regime, this article argues that the idea of ROK-Japan security-economic cooperation originates from former Japanese prime minister Tanaka Kakuei by using accumulated primary materials and interviews with major individuals involved. As this article finds, Tanakas remarks that Japan should contribute at least the operating costs of stationing two military divisions became the foundation for the South Korean government to draft a proposal requesting a Japanese contribution worth ten billion US dollars for ROK-Japan security-economic cooperation. Tanakas proposal was unique in the sense that for the first time, Japan approached South Korean security issues through economic means. At the same time, Tanakas idea indicates a continuity with the traditional perspective of Japanese conservatives, which emphasized that the security of the Korean Peninsula was closely interconnected to Japans own defense. On the part of South Korea, their motivation stemmed from the new military governments drive to fix the deep-seated structural asymmetry between South Korea and Japan that persisted despite Korea-Japan normalization in 1965. Although South Koreas proposal for ROK-Japan securityeconomic cooperation clearly reflected the Chun administrations new strategic thinking and diplomatic approach to Japan, the collusive linkages that largely existed between South Koreas authoritarian and Japans conservative leadership continued. In this context, the Fifth Republics diplomacy towards Japan can be depicted as both continuity and change of the so-called 1965 system of Korea-Japan relations, which for the first time placed security and economic interests before the historical problems to break away from the political impasse in the bilateral relations between South Korea and Japan.