Previous studies on international reconciliation have focused on the security and economic interests of the countries involved, treating reconciliation as an end-goal rather than an ongoing process. This study divides the process of reconciliation into three stages. ‘Procedural reconciliation’, which refers to the mending of international relations through institutional change, is the most basic. In the ‘material reconciliation’ phase, the perpetrator(s) provides the victim(s) – either at the individual or state level – with economic compensation for inflicting harm. The third stage, ‘ideational reconciliation’, is reached when the perpetrator acknowledges past wrongdoings and when civil and cultural exchanges are carried out smoothly.
This study delves into the relations between South Korea and Japan. Even though reconciliation between South Korea and Japan is vital to achieve stable peace in Northeast Asia, the topic has not received sufficient scholarly attention. Former studies have focused on bilateral relations, but few have discussed the two countries' path towards reconciliation. In this study, readers will find an in-depth analysis of the ties between South Korea and Japan from an international reconciliation perspective, one which will help them understand how the two nations have worked towards understanding and how much they have achieved to date. The study also suggests a roadmap to reach the final stage of reconciliation and identifies the policy changes needed to get there.