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Dealing with Kishida

13 0 27
18.10.2021
By Paul Tyson

Foreign ministries have geographic and regional divisions and within them individual country desks headed by a desk officer. The Japanese foreign ministry, the Gaimusho, has a Korea desk. It is led by career diplomats in the ministry, Ken Ono and Katsutoshi Takeda.

But neither should be considered the top Korea desk officer in Japan. That title goes to Japan's new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who served as foreign minister between 2012 and 2017 during the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

An analogous situation happened in the U.S. when George W. Bush was president. He had previously been U.S. ambassador to China and everyone in the U.S. State Department knew he should be considered the top China desk officer when he was in the Oval Office so they acted accordingly.

Policy makers in Korea should keep this in mind as they try to forge a new relationship with Japan under Kishida. Their first step should obviously be to study the records of negotiations and meetings with Kishida. But these will only tell part of the story.

President Moon Jae-in and his successor in Cheong Wa Dae would also do well to........

© The Korea Times


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