The complex interplay of domestic politics and regional diplomacy involving the Korean Peninsula creates a high-stakes “Two-Level Game” that has stymied Japan-South Korea relations and stalled progress on North Korean denuclearization, with adverse consequences for Japan and the U.S.-Japan alliance. Efforts to improve the situation will benefit from intellectual exchange regarding the inherent tension among certain domestic political, national security, and regional diplomatic factors.

Bonji Ohara, research fellow at the Tokyo Foundation and retired Maritime Self-Defense Force captain, provided his analysis of these diplomatic and security dynamics involving Korea from Japan’s viewpoint and based on his personal experience in China and Korea. James L. Schoff moderated.

Bonji Ohara

Bonji Ohara is a research fellow and project manager at the Tokyo Foundation where he focuses on foreign and security policy. He previously served as an analyst for IHS Jane’s and served as Japan’s naval attaché in Beijing.

James L. Schoff

James L. Schoff is a senior associate in the Carnegie Asia Program. His research focuses on U.S.-Japanese relations and regional engagement, Japanese politics and security, and the private sector’s role in Japanese policymaking.