Anti-Japanese Sentiment in South Korea and Its Impact on Foreign Policymaking
Kim , Seojung
The article investigates the influence of South Korean public opinion on the aggravating relationship between the two democratic countries, Japan and South Korea, by using the Stata program. The article challenges the common wisdom that the South Korean president’s hostile foreign policy toward Japan shapes the public’s opinion on leaders. To examine the question, the author analyzes a survey data set that measures the South Korean public’s view of neighboring countries: Japan, the United States, and North Korea. Based on the statistical analysis, the paper criticizes the overestimation of the power of public opinion in South Korea's relationship with Japan. Since the South Korean public holds high expectations of Japan's diplomatic relations and does not recognize the strategic value of Japan, the public does not judge their presidents' leadership based on the country's relationship with Japan. Therefore, the author argues that Korean political leaders form hostile foreign policy toward Japan, expecting to gain popularity by creating patriotic images. However, they do not gain any political pay-off from it. On the contrary, leaders can impress the public with their relationship with the U.S and North Korea due to the public’s low expectations of diplomatic relations toward those two countries.
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