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What Brought Them Together? Comparative Analysis of the Normalization Processes of North Korea-Japan and South Korea-Japan
The Korean Journal of International Studies 16-3 (December 2018), 411-33
Published online December 31, 2018
© 2018 The Korean Association of International Studies.

Yaechan Lee [Bio-Data]
Received June 29, 2018; Revised August 21, 2018; Accepted September 19, 2018.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Most scholarship on the Korean-Japanese relationship has been focused on explaining what separates the Koreans from the Japanese rather than what had brought them together. Nevertheless, this article seeks to focus its analysis on what brought the two Koreas and Japan together. This article compares the South Korea-Japan normalization negotiations with the North Korea-Japan negotiations and purports that the controversial issues that recurrently surfaced in the process of the negotiations ultimately did not serve as a big hindrance to furthering the normalization progress in the latter and concluding negotiations in the former. Moreover, it suggests two possible scenarios under which normalization between North Korea and Japan could occur and concludes that Kim Jong-un’s personality will play the most critical role in determining the direction of normalization talks.
Keywords : South Korea, North Korea, Japan, normalization, historical animosity

17-1 (April 2019)