31st Korea-Japan Forum

August 30–September 1, 2023

The 31st Japan-Korea Forum, co-organized by JCIE and the Korea Foundation, was held in Seoul, Korea. The forum gathered close to 50 politicians, scholars, journalists, businesspeople, and representatives of nonprofit organizations to discuss the politics, economy, and culture of Korea and Japan in a relaxed atmosphere. 

The forum was held amid hopes of a dramatic improvement in Japan-Korea relations following the resumption of shuttle diplomacy between Prime Minister Kishida and President Yoon. In sessions that focused on domestic political situations, international politics, economic security and cooperation, and bilateral exchanges, participants engaged in frank discussions and offered concrete proposals. Forum participants reached an agreement in areas such as the institutionalization of Japan-US-Korea cooperation, the early holding of a Japan-China-Korea summit, the diversification of Japan-Korea cooperation, and an expansion of people-to-people exchanges. They also proposed that the Japanese and Korean governments sign a new “Japan-Korea Partnership Joint Declaration” in 2025.

On August 31, the 8th Korea-Japan Forum Award ceremony was held. The award was given to Cho Seok-rae, honorary chairman of Hyosung Group, who has made great contributions to Japan-Korea friendship and the development of the Japan-Korea Forum as the Korean representative secretary of the Japan-Korea Forum for many years. His son, Cho Hyun-joon, current chairman of Hyosung Group, accepted the award on his behalf.

The Korea-Japan Forum also included the 9th Korea-Japan Junior Forum, attended by 18 university and graduate students from both Japan and South Korea. Participants had a daylong session on August 21 where they discussed their thoughts and ideas around this year’s theme: “The Future We Envision: Sustainable Japan-Korea Relations and Common Issues between Japan and Korea in the Future.” Representatives from both countries presented their conclusions and solutions at the main Forum on August 31.

Following the Forum, chairmen Masao Okonogi (Professor Emeritus, Keio University) and Myung-hwan Yu (former Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade) released a joint statement on the meeting, available in Korean and Japanese below.