Nov. 19: In South Korea, Ahn Cholsu, who will be a slight favorite in the upcoming presidential election if the two main opposition parties can unite behind him, wants to improve relations with Japan, claiming that his graduate research in Japan gives him a better understanding of the South Korean neighbor than the other candidates have. He wants to do the ROK-Japan FTA before the ROK-Japan-PRC trilateral.
Nov. 20: China, South Korea, and Japan agree to launch negotiations for the China-Japan-ROK trilateral FTA.
Nov. 20: Russia raises its representation at the Japan-Russia Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Issues from cabinet minister with an economic portfolio to Igor Shuvalov, a First Deputy Prime Minister.
Why are they all of a sudden ♡ing the “Outcast of Asia”*, “isolated from its neighbors**”? It’s not hard to give plausible, even probable, reasons, particularly for Russia. Still, it’s happening all so suddenly that you can’t quite shake the feeling that there’s some cosmic practical joke being played on Japan-as-Carrie (no, not Kyary).
** I am quoting a Korea specialist with, you guessed it, Korean in-laws.
*** Too many specialists to keep track of.