This briefing comes from Korea View, a weekly newsletter published by the Korea Economic Institute. Korea View aims to cover developments that reveal trends on the Korean Peninsula but receive little attention in the United States. If you would like to sign up, please find the online form here.
Implications: The South Korean government’s responses to Tokyo’s new travel restrictions suggest that bilateral relations continue to suffer from tensions stemming from Japan’s reaction to the Korean court upholding the legitimacy of reparations claims by victims of forced labor during WWII. While 123 countries and territories have imposed varying levels of restrictions, Seoul has only imposed reciprocal travel restrictions on Japan. This unprecedented measure not only demonstrated how pathological pressures may be further damaging frayed relations but also revealed that countries in the region are still not coordinating their responses to the pandemic.
Context: Japan’s reaction to the pandemic strikes a contrast with how the U.S. government has approached travelers from Korea. While people who visited hotzones like Daegu are being quarantined, the U.S. government has not revoked its visa-free travel for Korean nationals.
Korea View was edited by Yong Kwon with the help of Gordon Henning, Soojin Hwang, Hyungim Jang, and Ingyeong Park.
Image from the U.S. State Department flickr account.