Monday, May 4, 2020
Korea Institute Board member Dr Lauren Richardson’s research recently made a splash in the South Korean news. As South Korea and Japan’s diplomatic relations nosedived in 2019 in response to unresolved historical problems such as the Korean forced labourer issue (where during World War II Korean labourers were press-ganged to work in mines in Japan), many analysts around the world urged the US government to assume its traditional mediator role between its two Asian allies.
Dr Richardson drew on her research that shows that US mediation has been largely ineffective in resolving ROK-Japan history disputes, and published an op-ed to this effect in the Lowy Interpreter. This was picked up by BK News, a news outlet in South Korea, and republished in video form on YouTube where it attracted more than 300,000 views and 1400 comments.
Following this, Dr Richardson was invited to present her research at a symposium in Seoul organised by the Korea Legislation Research Institute, a think tank that supports the Korean government in law drafting. The photo here is of Lauren in a press conference the day before the symposium at the Westin Chosun Seoul hotel.
Dr Richardson, a Korea and Japan expert at the Bell School, is currently completing her monograph on the role of non-state actors in shaping the “history problems” in Japan and South Korea’s diplomatic relations.