The Japan and Koreas Programme focuses primarily on the history, politics, and international relations of Japan and the Korean peninsula. It is headed by Dr John Nilsson-Wright who works with Professor William Hurst within the broader framework of the Indo-Pacific Strand.

Northeast Asia has long been an arena for geopolitical conflict, both in the modern and pre-modern eras. During the late 19th Century the Great Powers competed for influence in both China and the Korean peninsula, and during the 20th Century, the region was the arena for the Pacific War, disputes over the status of Taiwan, and the Korean War from 1950-53, the first ‘hot’ conflict of the emerging Cold War.

Today, the region is a focal point for a wide range of policy issues, including addressing the nuclear risks associated with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK); human rights challenges; alliance coordination between the United States and its two key regional allies, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK); newly emerging mini and multilateral security partnerships; regional economic integration initiatives, and widening and deepening Indo-Pacific cooperation between Asian, European, and North American partners.

The governments of Japan and the ROK are both increasingly active policy innovators in a wide range of areas and the Programme considers the significance of this activism in shaping regional and global developments, particularly against the backdrop of recently strengthened trilateral coordination between the United States, Japan, and the ROK.

The Programme also analyses the critically important relationship between domestic politics and foreign policy in influencing these developments, particularly given the growing rivalry globally between authoritarian and democratic regimes.

History has long been a source of conflict in Northeast Asia and contested issues of identity and legitimacy frequently fuel tension between and within states in the region. Understanding this dynamic process is a key element in the research of the Programme which aims to bring together policy-makers, scholars, and opinion leaders in civil society from within and outside the region to exchange views freely and constructively.

Latest

In the press

Security dynamics on Korean Peninsula: Expert analysis

Wednesday 1st May, 2024

Security dynamics on Korean Peninsula: Expert analysis

The head of our Japan and Koreas Programme, Dr. John Nilsson-Wright, in on English Language South Korean television in a wide ranging discussion about North Korea.

Expert Analysis

A public vote of no-confidence for South Korea’s President Yoon

In the press

South Korea and the UK: Looking Beyond Celebrations

Thursday 28th March, 2024

South Korea and the UK: Looking Beyond Celebrations

Ha Chae Kyoun, researcher on our Indo Pacific Strand, looks at the future of cooperation between South Korea and the UK.

Event Review

Event review: Japanese diplomacy – the power of influence

Diplomacy, Security

Enabling Japan’s security policies: The role of domestic institutions

Diplomacy

Japanese diplomacy – the power of influence

Thursday 22nd February, 2024

Japanese diplomacy – the power of influence

Economics, Security

An enhanced UK-Japan global strategic partnership: A new type of alliance?

In the press

The arms supplied by North Korea to Russia as UK sends satellite images to UN

Sunday 21st January, 2024

The arms supplied by North Korea to Russia as UK sends satellite images to UN

John Nilsson-Wright is interviewed for this i News article.

Peace building

Peace initiatives of the Moon Jae-in administration in Korea: their legacy

Peace building

Korea Global Forum 2023

Friday 29th September, 2023

Korea Global Forum 2023

Event Review

Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)

Journal

Essay appears in an Asia Policy paper

Thursday 20th July, 2023

Essay appears in an Asia Policy paper

John Nilsson-Wright essay appears in an Asia Policy paper on how countries are adopting different strategies in approaching the Indo-Pacific.

In the press

Article in Korea JoongAng Daily

Saturday 8th July, 2023

Article in Korea JoongAng Daily

John Nilsson-Wright contributes to an article in Korea JoongAng Daily on Japan/Korea relationships post.

In the press

BBC World Service programme “Weekend”

Sunday 25th June, 2023

BBC World Service programme “Weekend”

John Nilsson-Wright is a studio guest on the BBC World Service programme “Weekend” speaking on many subjects over three 50 minute segments.

Podcast

On Geopolitics Episode 31: Japan, South Korea and the US

Monday 22nd May, 2023

On Geopolitics Episode 31: Japan, South Korea and the US

Ali and Suzanne are joined by Centre Affiliate Dr John Nilsson-Wright to consider this trilateral relationship in the run-up to the G7.  

Commentary

Deepening trilateralism

Wednesday 17th May, 2023

Deepening trilateralism

Diplomacy, Law, Security

Garren Mulloy examines Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision

Event Review

Challenges to Japan’s Leadership in Asia and the World