This report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. Japan and South Korea's bilateral security relationship has experienced periods of both cooperation and friction. Despite several contemporary similarities, expanded security cooperation between these two countries remains elusive. Clarifying why Japan and South Korea pursue cooperation at some times but avoid it at others provides a deeper understanding of the relationship between these two East Asian nations. This thesis analyzes the influence of international factors (China, North Korea, and the United States) and evaluates the impact of public opinion and domestic leaders, especially with regard to animosity over historical issues. The research reviews how and when each of the above factors encourages or discourages cooperation, utilizing both qualitative and quantitative methods. In an attempt to capture variation and identify trends in security cooperation levels, the thesis examines Japanese and South Korean defense white papers that catalog security-related meetings, exchanges, and agreements. The thesis confirms that security cooperation levels fluctuate significantly between cooperation and friction, and contends that domestic factors mostly discourage cooperation while international factors have more of an encouraging effect. In fact, domestic factors appear to play a role at least equal to—but potentially more important than—international factors in explaining this fluctuation.
This compilation includes a reproduction of the 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community.
To better understand security cooperation between Japan and South Korea, there is a need for a rigorous and systematic analysis of the state of security cooperation over the last several decades. While much of the current literature takes the level of cooperation, or lack thereof, for granted, this research works to establish the level of security cooperation. This assessment is not only a critical component of this research, but it is also an important contribution to the literature in general. This thesis determines levels of security cooperation by evaluating direct, observable measures of security cooperation, like bilateral and trilateral military exercises and high-level meetings; the research design section of this chapter provides more detail on the methods of evaluation and measurement In addition, the intent is to capture both bilateral and trilateral Japan-ROK security cooperation. This more all-encompassing approach facilitates a better understanding of the United States' influence on and importance to Japan-ROK relations.