The Future of Japan-Korea Relations: Are America’s Asian Alliances at Risk?


July 28, 2020 (Tuesday) in Los Angeles, CA

4:30PM to 6:00PM (Pacific Standard Time, GMT-8)


July 29, 2020 (Wednesday) in Seoul and Tokyo

8:30AM to 10:00AM (GMT+9)

  • The Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan are the two most important US allies in Asia. The Defense Department has dubbed the US-ROK alliance the "linchpin of peace and prosperity" and the US-Japan alliance the "cornerstone of peace and security."

    But the alliance system can only realize its full potential — and confront major regional and global challenges — if the third side of the strategic triangle, Japan-ROK relations, functions well. Strained relations and wavering US commitment to the region, however, threaten to weaken the US-led alliance architecture in Asia.

    This virtual event brought together a group of renowned experts to discuss Japan-ROK relations in the context of the following questions:

    • What role do Japan-ROK relations play in the larger U.S.-led Asian alliance system?
    • What legal, political, economic, historic, and strategic issues are sources of friction and cooperation between the two countries?
    • What lies ahead for ROK-Japan relations and how might they be strengthened?

    A virtual Q&A session followed the panel.

    This event was moderated by Gene Park, Director of the Global Policy Institute at LMU, and Mietek Boduszynski, former U.S. diplomat and professor at Pomona College.


    South Korea and Japan in an Era of Turbulence

    Jonathan Pollack, Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution 


    Celeste Arrington, George Washington University

    Cheol-hee Park, Seoul National University

    Yoshihide Soeya, Keio University


    Presented by the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University.

    This event is sponsored by the Korea Foundation.

    About Loyola Marymount University

    LMU is a private Catholic university with 6,000 undergraduates, 2,200 graduate students and 1,100 law students from diverse backgrounds and many perspectives. Our seven colleges and schools boast best-in-the-nation programs in film and television, business, education and more. Our stunning campus in West Los Angeles is a sun-soaked oasis overlooking the Pacific coast and a model of sustainability. We're rooted in the heart of Los Angeles, a global capital for arts and entertainment, innovation and technology, business and entrepreneurship. Our mission is grounded in a centuries-old Jesuit educational tradition that produces extraordinary men and women dedicated to service and social justice. We're proud of more than 85,000 LMU alumni whose professional achievements are matched by a deep commitment to improving the lives of others.

  • Keynote Speaker: Jonathan Pollack, Brookings Institution

    Jonathan Pollack

    Pollack is a senior fellow at the John L. Thornton China Center and the Center for East Asia Policy at the Brookings Institution. His research interests include U.S. strategy in Asia and the Pacific, Korean politics and foreign policy, and Asian international politics. He is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. He was chairman of the Strategic Research Department at the U.S. Naval War College and he previously worked at the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica. Pollack has authored and edited over a dozen books and research monographs.


    Celeste Arrington, George Washington University

    Celeste Arrington

    Professor Arrington is a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University. She specializes in comparative politics, with a regional focus on the Koreas and Japan. She is the author of "Accidental Activists: Victim Movements and Government Accountability," and her current book analyzes the changing roles of lawyers in policy-making. She was a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. She was also a member of the Mike and Maureen Mansfield Foundation's U.S.-Japan Network for the Future and its U.S.-Korea Scholar-Policymaker Nexus.


    Cheol Hee Park

    Cheol-hee Park

    Cheol Hee Park is a professor at the Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS) and Director for the Institute of International Affairs (IIA) at Seoul National University (SNU). He is a former dean of the GSIS and a former director of the Institute for Japanese Studies (IJS) at SNU. He served as the president of the Korean Association for Contemporary Japanese Studies in the year 2017.

    His research interests include Japanese politics, Japan-ROK relations, and international relations in East Asia. He has written many articles on Japan-ROK relations in English, Japanese, and Korean. Park has contributed to articles in multiple volumes including East Asia’s Haunted Past, National Identities and Bilateral Relations, U.S. Leadership, History and Bilateral Relations in Northeast Asia, and Japan’s Foreign Relations in Asia. He is currently a columnist at Tokyo Shimbun, Joongang Ilbo, and Munhwa Ilbo.

    Park received his BA and MA from Seoul National University and obtained his Ph.D. degree at Columbia University. He has been a visiting professor at University of Tokyo, Keio University, and Kobe University.


    Yoshihide Soeya, Keio University

    Yoshihide SOEYA

    Yoshihide Soeya is currently a Professor Emeritus at Keio University after recently retiring as a professor of political science and international relations at the Faculty of Law of Keio University in March 2020. His areas of interest include politics and security in East Asia and Japanese diplomacy and its external relations.

    Soeya received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1987, where he studied world politics. He served as the Director for the Institute of East Asian Studies of Keio University for six years until September 2013, and as the Director of its Center for Contemporary Korean Studies for five years until March 2016. Soeya has been a visiting professor at the Graduate School of International Studies of Seoul National University in the fall of 2006, a Japan Scholar of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington D.C. from September 2013 to January 2014, and a Korea Foundation Fellow affiliated with the ASAN Institute in Seoul in March-May 2014.


    Gene Park, Global Policy Institute (Moderator)

    Gene Park

    Gene Park's research interests include comparative and international political economy; Japanese foreign policy and politics; and the politics of monetary policy, public spending and taxation. He also has a broad interest in East Asian security. His most recent co-authored book is "Taming Japan's Deflation: The Debate over Unconventional Monetary Policy" (Cornell University Press, 2018). An earlier book, "Spending without Taxation: FILP and Politics of Public Finance," was published in 2011 (Stanford University Press). He earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Swarthmore College and Ph.D. in Political Science from University of California Berkeley. He is an avid tennis player.


    Mietek Boduszynski, Pomona College (Moderator)

    Boduszynski, Mietek

    Mietek Boduszynski is Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations at Pomona College, where he teaches U.S. Foreign Policy, among other subjects. He is also a former U.S. diplomat with overseas service in Albania, Kosovo, Japan, Egypt, Libya, and Iraq.

  • Download the Digital Brochure PDF: Japan-ROK Event Brochure