In recent months, historical issues have cast a shadow on Japan's foreign relations. Visiting the United States, the Japanese prime minister was called on to clarify his country’s position on the "comfort women", the thousands and mostly Asian women recruited to provide sexual services in wartime.
At the same time, however, Japanese and Korean local leaders have been making preparations to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the arrival in Japan of the first of 12 Korean royal embassies. The events include festivals recalling a long period of good relations between the two countries.
Although Europe suffers less from a negative past, their links between local governments have helped greatly to overcome the weight of history. According to popular thinking, reconciliation in Europe was achieved thanks to the work of visionary leaders such as Willy Brandt, whose kneeling figure in Warsaw is fixed into the collective memory of a generation of Europeans. Lately, however, historians have begun to give credit to less visible day to day transnational activities of so-called subnational actors, local governments and organizations that cooperate with them.
Date: Wednesday, 30 June 2007, 12:30 - 17:00
Place: Goethe-Institut Japan in Tokyo
International Center for the Study of Historical Reconciliation at Tokyo Keizai University
Goethe-Institut Japan in Tokyo