Japan's Wartime Past: Issues of Contention and Respective Positions

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Japan's Wartime Past: Issues of Contention and Respective Positions Introduction Japan emerged from the ashes of World War II to rebuild and become one of the Asian Tigers with a juggernaut economy and a homogeneous nation full of hardworking people. Japan's wartime past continues to affect its relationship with its Asian neighbors in general and with South and North Korea in particular, though, and some observers suggest that nothing will ever be truly normal until "Japan comes clean" about its past. To determine the facts, this paper provides a review of the relevant peer-reviewed literature concerning these issues to identify the main issues of interest and contention, and how the respective sides concerned have historically dealt with them. A summary of the research and important findings are presented in the conclusion. Review and Analysis Given their shared heritage and close geographic proximity, a number of theoretical perspectives indicate that South Korea and Japan should be closer trading partners and military allies than they are at present. In this regard, Cooney and Scarborough report that, "Realism would predict that these two nations would be natural allies with their shared political and economic systems, mutual embrace of Western culture, and shared alliances with the reigning global hegemon, the United States." Likewise, democratic peace theory suggests that South Korea and Japan share the same general democratic and material values, making each

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