Stanford hosts historic Japan-Korea meeting on final day of APEC

At the APEC Summit, talks between the U.S., Japan and South Korea turned a new page this week.

A trilateral meeting brought President Biden, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida together on Thursday.

"The United States has really tried to mend fences between the two countries  but it really happened this past year with President Yoon and Prime Minister Kishida," said Kiyoteru Tsutsui, a Stanford Professor of Sociology and Japanese Studies.

On Friday, Stanford University hosted President Yoon and Prime Minister Kishida in a landmark discussion on technology and cooperation.

"This moment was particularly historic, because we couldn't have imagined something like this happening even a year ago," said Tsutsui participated in the event.

"They are on very good terms. You could see that in the off-stage moments as well, the rapport that they have, the friendship, the partnership that they have seemed very real," said Tsutsui.

The United States, South Korea and Japan have long found common cause in military unity against North Korea and China. However, tension between South Korea and Japan dating from World War II often jeopardized relations.

The meeting on Friday during APEC in the Bay Area moved towards new collaboration.

"Today marked one of the next steps in the improvement of relationships between the two countries," said Tsutsui, "Talking about technological cooperation, developing new scientific endeavors together, working on developing startups in both countries and taking advantage of presence in Silicon Valley together."

They also talked about quantum computers, as well as energy.

"There will be some kind of cooperation a new project on hydrogen ammonia," said Tsutsui, "That would be a new renewable energy area and Japan and Korea have some scientists in those areas."

Japan's Prime Minister Kishida held a news conference in San Francisco on Friday and thanked San Francisco for its warm hospitality.
Kishida said San Francisco was the most qualified city to be the venue given the APEC 2023 focus on sustainability and technology.

Kishida also said Japan and California have a relationship that goes back 150 years and California has a large Japanese American community.

Kishida also noted the deep connections with some 900 Japanese companies in the San Francisco Bay Area.  

Japan opened an innovation center in Palo Alto this past week to support Japanese entrepreneurs and startups, another sign of how the Bay Area might benefit in the future from the APEC Summit.