December 06, 2023

Evaluating the troubled legacy of Japan’s first summit with North Korea

Tokyo secured historic if fleeting breakthrough in Pyongyang 20 years ago, only for it to be derailed by public opinion

Twenty years ago this week, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made history by meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in the first-ever summit between the two countries.

But what was expected to be a major turning point in North Korea-Japan relations instead launched a new crisis that has defined bilateral relations between the two neighbors ever since.