japan

Since the beginning of the year, Japan’s official relations with the Korean Peninsula have gone from bad to worse.With South Korea, the past continues to plague the bilateral relationship.[...] Only last month did Tokyo return the Japanese ambassador to Seoul after he was withdrawn in January to protest a comfort women statue in Busan. [...] Yet one option to repair relations with South Korea, and perhaps even make some headway with North Korea, seems obvious if you are in Kansai: Use Japan’s Korean community as an unofficial diplomatic channel of communication.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a special envoy of new South Korean President Moon Jae In agreed Thursday to resume "shuttle diplomacy" between the two leaders, according to the envoy. The shuttle diplomacy, which sees the leaders visit each other's countries roughly every year, has been suspended since December 2011 under the administration of then President Lee Myung Bak.The two leaders could hold their first face-to-face talks in July on the margins of a summit of Group of 20 major economies in Germany.

This week’s PD News roundup looks at nation branding efforts from Rwanda to North Korea. 

The symbolic gesture of picking São Paulo for the grand opening of Japan House hints at the value attributed by Japan to its strategic global partnership with Brasília. [...] unless Tokyo and Brasília decide to go for a thorough re-evaluation of the terms upon which their dysfunctional bilateral cooperation was structured over time, and think of innovative ways to carry it through in the future, Japan House will be of little help in making the ties that unite the two countries even bolder.

Concerns are growing the diplomatic strains may spill over into sociocultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries despite their deepening economic interdependence. [...] But in the eyes of Park Euna, ambassador for public diplomacy at the Foreign Ministry, now is time for Seoul to step up efforts to reach out to citizens of not only China but other countries around the world, helping promote their understanding of and eventually reach its foreign policy goals.

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