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Japan-ROK Cooperation in the Post-COVID-19 Era

Date: Saturday, November 21, 2020 (10:00 a.m.–12:00 a.m.)
Organizers: Society of Security and Diplomatic Policy Studies (SSDP) / The Yeosijae (Future Consensus Institute)
Mode: Closed on-line seminar supported by Japan-Korean simultaneous interpretation


  • Masahiro Akiyama Chairman, SSDP
  • Shigeru Ishiba Member of the House of Representatives (LDP)
  • Masao Okonogi Emeritus Professor, Keio University
  • Takashi Sekiyama Associate Professor, Kyoto University
  • Masaaki Taira Member of the House of Representatives (LDP)
  • Junya Nishino Professor, Keio University
  • Yukio Noguchi Emeritus Professor, Hitotsubashi University
  • Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi Member of the House of Representatives (LDP)
  • Yun-Chul Hong Professor of Medicine, Seoul National University
  • Sehee Hwang Director of the Future Planning Department, Future Consensus Institute
  • Young Choon Kim Secretary-General of the National Assembly
  • Jaeyoung Lee President, KGMLab
  • Kwang Jae Lee Member of the National Assembly (Democratic Party of Korea)
  • Hee-ryong Won Governor of Jeju Special Self-governing Province
  • Hyang-ja Yang Member of the National Assembly (Democratic Party of Korea)

Proposals Toward Japan-ROK Cooperation in the Post-COVID-19 Era

  1. We, the participants of the Japan-ROK Future Dialogue, propose, as a short-term strategy for building a sustainable infection prevention system, 1) the establishment of a risk assessment and monitoring system, 2) the reestablishment of a system of epidemiological surveys and contact tracing, and 3) inter-ministerial governance as well as cooperative governance between the public and private sectors.
  2. Medical care in the future as a long-term strategy in the post-corona era is "community-oriented medical care." There is a need for "community-oriented new medical care" that provides remote consultations and finds solutions within a community. It is necessary to build a medical system based on a platform that implements diagnosis and enables the observation of a patient at home at all times by using health monitoring and smart tools. Facing the precipitous aging of the population, Japan and South Korea must deal jointly with these challenges.
  3. We propose, through Japan-ROK digital cooperation, 1) Japan-ROK next-generation communication cooperation for building digital infrastructures, 2) the institution of a national digital library, and 3) the development of an online education platform, and 4) the construction of an AI government.
  4. Toward the solution of population concentration in cities and the disappearance of non-urban areas, we propose 1) developing an industry-academia cooperation model and 2) constructing a cooperation model between non-metropolitan universities and smart industrial parks. The revitalization of non-urban areas and response to a super-aging society constitute common challenges for Japan and South Korea. Japan and South Korea should jointly advance research efforts regarding smart cities.
  5. We propose taking the 2021 Tokyo Olympics as an opportunity to promote international cooperation between South Korea, North Korea, and East Asian countries. We anticipate the joint participation in the upcoming Olympics of South and North Koreas. We also propose that the 2022 Beijing Olympics be followed by the joint holding of the 2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics by two Koreas.
  6. Based on the concept of "Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT)" presented at the 2019 G20 meeting, South Korea and Japan, committed to the values of democracy, liberalism, and privacy, should cooperate to the utmost in the formation of international data distribution zones that are to include Japan, South Korea, Europe, the United States, and ASEAN countries.
  7. There is a need for Japan-ROK technical cooperation based on liberalism and respect for privacy. It will be possible to promote Japan-ROK cooperation suitable for the post-corona and digital age. In the creation of systems specialized in addressing infectious diseases, for example, the sharing of each other's experiences would advance the bilateral cooperation, as evidenced by successful cases of the development of various applications. Japan and South Korea should demonstrate to the world an exemplary system for preventing epidemics as a democratic institution.
  8. Countries committed to the values of democracy, liberalism, and privacy possess superior technologies. They could solve problems with new technologies such as blockchain, data sandbox, secure computation technology, and distributed ID. It is a new business model to turn the information stored by devices into big data and AI. It represents a common challenge for Japan and South Korea.
  9. Technology is of utmost importance for establishing medical systems and platforms capable of addressing COVID-19. Japan-ROK cooperation is indispensable for the further development of semiconductor memory.
  10. Japan and South Korea should jointly propose a framework for cooperation between Northeast Asian countries --- South Korea, Japan, Russia, China, the United States, Australia, and North Korea ---, along with TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), and RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership). Both countries should also jointly promote peacebuilding in Asia-Pacific and construct an international framework for Northeast Asia. Cross-border cooperative measures are needed to fight infectious disease viruses that respect no national borders.
  11. Vaccines and therapeutic drugs have similar effects on Japanese and Korean people due to their racial kinship. They could jointly develop vaccines and curative drugs by sharing each other's information obtained from clinical trials.
  12. Japan-ROK cooperation has been another name of difficulty. But the impact of the COVID-19 crisis seems to herald a time that encourages Japan and South Korea to cooperate in earnest with each other. It is time for Japan and South Korea to advance cooperation by a two-track approach, separating historical issues and other thorny problems.

Society of Security and Diplomatic Policy Studies (SSDP) and the Yeosijae (Future Consensus Institute) sponsor efforts toward prosperity and peacebuilding in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia. The 2019 summer SSDP-Yeosijae seminar in Tokyo convened both countries' parliamentarians and experts and discussed the future course and challenges for Japan and South Korea. This year, however, the outbreak of COVID-19 frustrated the holding of another one in Seoul. Instead, we decided to continue online dialogues. In July, the SSDP-Yeosijae Global Dialogue took place in the form of an online seminar participated by experts from both countries. We shared our experiences in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis and discussed Japan-ROK cooperation in an era of US-China competition.

At the recent Japan-ROK Future Dialogue, political leaders from Japan and South Korea gathered to discuss Japan-ROK cooperation in the post-COVID-19 era, based on the expert discussions this summer. The exchange of views between the political leaders followed two presentations from the Korean side. Their contents are as follows.

Presentation 1 "ROK's Response to the COVID-19 Crisis and its Future Medical Care Strategy"

Exploiting South Korea's experiences, the first presentation tried to embody a long-term response strategy in preparation for pandemic crises that will recur in the future.

Back in 2015, South Korean society experienced a MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak. At that time, the number of infected people was 186, while that of deaths was 39. South Korea, however, capitalized on the misfortune to create a system to fight infectious diseases, a fact which contributed a great deal to response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The whole of East Asia was hit by SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in 2002, new influenza in 2009, and MERS in 2012. These regional experiences explain why East Asia could respond relatively quickly to COVID-19 compared to Western nations.

A country-by-country comparison of the number of COVID-19 mortality per million people shows that 649 people died in the United States, 570 in Sweden, and 338 in the European Union. On the other hand, South Korea has registered only eight deaths. Besides high death tolls, countries in Europe and North America suffered a great deal of economic damage as GDP dropped. In the meantime, Asian countries registered fewer deaths, and their economic damage is much less than that of the United States and Europe.

COVID-19 Mortality: Deaths per million capita (Source: Federation of American Scientists)

What were the achievements of South Korea's infectious disease control? First, the number of infected people was small; secondly, the case fatality rate was low. The small number of infections means that South Korea's response to COVID-19 was good, and the low case fatality rate that South Korea's infectious disease control and medical treatment were effective. Meanwhile, the South Korean economy suffered just a small hit thanks to its good response.

Then, what was South Korea's strategy that was able to produce such achievements? It is a "3T+2P" strategy that focuses on the three Ts --- 1) preparation and rapid diagnosis (Testing), 2) active contact management (Tracing), and 3) efficient treatment management (Treatment) --- and the two Ps --- 1) social distancing and Personal protective measures and 2) Public health infrastructure. Of these, rapid diagnosis is of paramount importance. A comparison with the United States may illustrate the peculiarity of the Korean strategy. The first COVID-19 infection was discovered simultaneously in South Korea and the United States on the same day. The difference between their response lies in that South Korea carried out a lot of testing in the incipient stages of the outbreak and that South Korea is still conducting almost as much testing as in the incipient stages. On the other hand, the United States has the highest number of infections and deaths, despite currently conducting the largest number of testing in the world. These results prove that rapid diagnosis is pivotally significant.

The number of infections in individual countries is decisively affected by differences in the way testing is conducted in the incipient stages of the outbreak. (Source: Our World in Data)

Future Challenges in Combating COVID-19

Although South Korea is successfully controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus, she is now facing a COVID-19 third wave. The characteristic of the current increase in infections is that the ratio of infection cases with unidentified transmission routes is high. If that ratio continues to rise, there will be a concern about the nationwide spread of the virus.

Response to cluster infections will also be a critical issue for South Korea to subdue COVID-19. The top places of cluster infections are medical institutions and sanatoria, followed by small-sized gatherings and religious activities. In particular, the characteristic of cluster infections associated with religious activities is that the number of infected people is high. Therefore, it is significant to pay attention to and control such possibility of infection.

How to adjust the intensity of social distancing is another issue to address. Generally speaking, social distancing will intensify when the number of infections is large and continues to climb; it will decrease when the number of infection cases decreases. However, if the intensity of social distancing decreases, large infection clusters will again occur --- a kind of vicious cycle will appear. Therefore, how to optimize the reciprocal feedback between the intensity of social distancing and the number of infection cases will also be the key to COVID-19 control.

As of October 20, 2020, 2,978 (11.8%) of 25,333 infection cases in South Korea are unidentified
in terms of transmission routes. (Source: Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Cluster Infection Cases and the Number of Infections by Place of Infection
(Source: Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

South Korea's Measures against COVID-19

Short-term and long-term strategies are needed to build a sustainable infectious disease control system. These strategies should focus on three aspects of combating infectious diseases: 1) establish a risk assessment and monitoring system, 2) reestablish a system of epidemiological surveys and contact tracing, and 3) inter-ministerial governance and cooperative governance between the public and private sectors.

1) The risk assessment system will provide scientific risk assessments and infectious disease predictions. At present, it is quite necessary to estimate the unidentified infection cases and transmission routes and to assess the risk of transmission to local communities. There is a need for a strategy to deal with "silent spreaders" who are asymptomatic and presymptomatic patients.

2) The reestablishment of a system of epidemiological surveys and contact tracing will claim improvement in methods and indicators used for epidemiological surveys. It is of importance in this connection to computerize the information gathering process and to integrate it with related clinical data. To this end, there is a need to expand and quantitatively strengthen epidemiological research personnel. As for contact tracing, we should, above all, respect the protection of privacy and digitalize contact tracing.

3) To create an efficient and effective infectious disease control system, it is necessary to establish governance based on public-private cooperation coordinated by government ministries and central and local governments.

"Community-Oriented Healthcare" --- A Long-Term Response Strategy

The above infectious disease control measures constitute a short-term strategy, whereas a long-term one requires a different approach. It is necessary for future medical care, for example, to strengthen not only medical technology but also the medical system. Although the United States boasts the most advanced medical technology, it suffers the gravest damage from COVID-19. There seems to be something wrong with its medical system. To deal with COVID-19, we cannot depend any more on medical systems run by large hospitals often associated with universities but need community-oriented medical care. We must aim at a new medical care system that can directly provide medical care to individual community members.

The increasing elderly population constitutes the chief reason for justifying the promotion of community-oriented medical care. In 2020, the elderly over 65 of age accounts for 15.7% of the South Korean population. It will reach 24.3% in 2030 and be close to 40% in 2050. The percentage of Japan's elderly population has already exceeded 25% --- almost ten years faster than South Korea's. Japan and South Korea are among the OECD countries with the fastest aging rate. Aging is an issue that Japan and South Korea must address in tandem.

The Future Percentage of Elderly in all the South Korean Population
(Source: National Statistical Office)

In realizing community-oriented medical care, the existing disease-oriented medical care must be changed to people-oriented medical care, while medical transmission systems to medical cooperation systems, and hospital-based services to community-based services. The technical basis for realizing these changes is "health monitoring." Various equipment and devices are available for health monitoring, including implantable, wearable, or garment-type devices. There are demands for a toilet seat incorporating monitoring technology that can measure a user's body temperature and provide monitoring and diagnosis at the time of emergency like a pandemic. By accommodating smart tools in mirrors and beds, people can receive medical care in their home where they live. Information collected from each household serving as a medical platform will reach a general hospital. In the post-COVID-19 era, the medical care system should transform into a platform-based system. I should be responsible for a health management strategy for future society.

Presentation 2 "Proposals toward Japan-ROK Cooperation in the Post-COVID-19 Era"

COVID-19 has posed common questions to all humankind. One of them is about how humans should live in the age of full-fledged digitalization with anxiety about both their employment and income. If digitalization helps to raise the proportion of "one-man business" that will depend on man's ingenuity and expertise, employment will accordingly decrease, while concerns about income will increase. The second question is associated with 120-year life expectancy, or what should people do during the 50 years after retirement at 65? The third question is about how to confront the climate change crisis. Climate change may increase the risk of chronic and inveterate illnesses.

It is time to find solutions to these problems. But what makes it hard to do so is that most Koreans live in large cities and a high-cost society. Rent, travel expenses, and communication costs soar exponentially; living expenses are rising and will continue to do. As a result, talented people will continue to leave South Korea. COVID-19 has asked Korean people about what rules they must adopt for their survival.

What kind of effort should Japan and South Korea make to create a new future? Public goods in the agricultural society are waterways, rice, salt, iron, etc. In industrial society, electricity, water supply, and sewerage systems, and railways are public goods. In the age of the digital revolution, "knowledge" will become a public good. If the IQ of artificial intelligence goes up from 500 to 1,000 in the future, an infinite amount of knowledge will be delivered in the way water or electricity is now. Consequently, future cooperation between Japan and South Korea must contribute to creating the knowledge ecosystem.

Seven Proposals Toward Japan-ROK Cooperation

The first proposal is the construction of digital infrastructures. Given that knowledge will in the future transfer through next-generation communication technologies such as 5G, 6G, and artificial satellites, our efforts should focus on how to realize bilateral cooperation in the sphere of digital communication.

The second proposal is the creation of a national digital library. The idea is to digitize all the materials archived in both countries' national central libraries to build a knowledge system capable of making an enormous volume of data accessible from, for example, a classroom or an apartment room. Currently, 66% of the 1.33 million digital materials in the National Library of Korea cannot be available outside the library due to copyright issues. The new system would enable visitors to, for example, search for university treatises and to obtain information at a lower cost.

The third proposal is the construction of an online education platform. In the future, the number of online universities will increase, and students will attend online lectures of the world's top universities like Harvard University. Japan-ROK cooperation will make it possible to produce online lessons of world-reputed scholars and build an education platform. Both countries can join forces in creating a kind of educational version of Netflix. Besides, the expansion of the system of exchanging university credits would facilitate the exchange of more knowledge between the two countries.

The fourth proposal is the promotion of an industry-academia cooperation model. Japan-ROK cooperation will play a vital role in dealing with the disappearance of non-urban (non-metropolitan) areas. One of the main reasons for the disappearance of those areas is the closure of universities located there. To raise the intellectual level of children living in non-urban areas, corporations and universities should jointly advance efforts toward regional revitalization by, among other things, sponsoring vocational education or summer camps for elementary, junior high, and high school students by utilizing university dormitories.

The fifth proposal is to invite advanced factory facilities on the premises of non-metropolitan universities located in regional Japan or South Korea to create an industry-academia cooperation model. The idea will have the effect of producing employment for university students in non-metropolitan areas while helping corporations there to recruit talented people. Besides, the involvement of regional universities would help enhance the vitality of those regions. By utilizing their relatively spacious sites, we propose creating an industry-academia integrated campus where education and research institutes coexist in an industrial park --- not an area dominated by factories or production facilities.

The sixth proposal is the construction of an AI government. The idea is to promote government-led digital innovation through exchanging a large amount of knowledge and information produced by the Japanese and South Korean governments. We propose the reorganization of administrative services based on blockchain technology so that all administrative work can be managed in an integrated manner. As for national treasury subsidies, we propose digitizing administrative information and creating a system that will allow government entities to inquire about the necessary information.

The seventh proposal proposes the promotion of international cooperation between South Korea, North Korea, and East Asian nations by taking the 2021 Tokyo Olympics as an opportunity. North-South Korean dialogues occasioned by the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics brought a euphoric mood to the East Asian region. We hope that anti-COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutic agents appear as soon as possible and that North and South Koreas will jointly participate in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Furthermore, we also propose that the 2022 Beijing Olympics go ahead of the joint holding of the 2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics by two Koreas. With the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games in sight, we hope that Japan and South Korea continue diplomatic efforts to involve North Korea by leveraging Olympics momentum and to promote cooperation with East Asia and other nations in the world.

Designated Discussion

In the designated discussion, a Japanese debater expressed his views on COVID-19 control measures taken by Japan and South Korea and discussed perceptions that are to be shared by both sides and the areas in which the two countries can cooperate in the wake of various changes that they have experienced through a fight against COVID-19.

Currently, we find ourselves at a vital turning point that humankind may encounter once every 100 years --- which means that the possibility of our meeting again in the future such historical events as the 100-year-old World War I and Spanish flu, the Great Depression, and World War II. Japanese debaters emphasized the importance for Japan, South Korea, and East Asian nations to create new cooperation models and a picture of the world in order not to experience such tragic wars, infectious diseases, and financial crises.

The Japanese debater pointed out the importance to that end of learning about each other. In particular, Japan may have many things to learn from South Korea's successful experiences of taking adequate measures to fight COVID-19 by utilizing its experiences in combating MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). Japan should, the debater argued, expand testing and thorough isolation, set up an emergency task force independent of politics, and entrust infectious disease control mainly with experts of public health and infectious diseases. He further stressed that Japan should learn from the cases where corporations such as Samsung and Hyundai Motor converted their training centers and other facilities into health management centers. He added that Japan should promote cashless transactions while introducing a system that can gain access to necessary data and identify transmission routes in case of an emergency like the COVID-19 crisis. He concluded that Japan should have the modesty to learn from the experiences of Taiwan or South Korea, rather than thinking that she has nothing to learn from others.

As for the current international situation, we should pay emphatic attention to the US-China struggle for supremacy and conduct an exhaustive discussion on how the bilateral confrontation will unfold and what roles Japan and South Korea should play as the closest neighbors. Japan should be aware that North-South reconciliation, which President Moon Jae-in emphasized in his speech on August 15, is especially significant for future peacebuilding in East Asia and solving North Korea's nuclear missile problem.

Instead of blaming each other, Japan and South Korea need to look at reality and discuss territorial issues and historical issues with an open heart. Besides, South Korea and Japan share difficult problems and challenges such as population decline, a high population concentration in cities, the creation of a decentralized society, and the strengthening of the domestic economy. Japan and South Korea share many areas where the two countries should do lots of constructive work for the international community.

Free Discussion

In the free discussion, Japanese and Korean participants shared their experiences by joining a question and answer session and presented suggestions for Japan-ROK cooperation. The following are suggestions on bilateral cooperation measures mentioned in the free discussion.

1 Japan has made much use of IT to control COVID-19 infection. With cooperation from a social networking service (SNS) company LINE, we gather a large amount of COVID-19-related information and attempt to prevent coronavirus infection using contact identification applications. Based on the concept of "Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT)" presented at the 2019 G20 meeting, South Korea and Japan should collaborate to form international data distribution zones respectful to privacy based on the norms of democracy and liberalism --- zones which will include not only Japan and South Korea but Europe, the United States, and ASEAN countries. Then, Japan and South Korea would reap the benefits of the data-driven economy.

2 If we prioritize the prevention of COVID-19 alone, we have only to do contact tracing and isolation in disregard of personal privacy. These responses may subdue COVID-19, but they could undermine the fundamental social value of liberalism. Japan and South Korea, which share liberal values, can probably develop technologies safeguarding personal information. In their fight against COVID-19, Japan and South Korea have endeavored to monitor the status of infection and to collect contact information by utilizing various applications. It is important for both countries, world leaders in technology innovation, to quickly resolve historical and political issues, build an infectious disease control system together, and seek close cooperation for development.

3 Technology contributes more than anything else to support the medical system and medical platform in unceasing daily efforts to control COVID-19 infection. In particular, the development of memory semiconductors such as DRAM, Flash Memory, and the CMOS image sensor is crucial. Japan and South Korea have continued technical cooperation for a long time, including the development of semiconductors. The two countries should build a future-oriented cooperation model together, rather than adopting a non-cooperative policy that tightens export regulations on semiconductor materials. In an era of US-China competition, Japan and South Korea would, thanks to their geopolitical location, have opportunities to promote technical and other exchanges and to work out a cooperation model.

4 Between East Asian nations, there are different cooperation frameworks --- TPP, ASEAN, and RCEP ---, but a Northeast Asian framework is missing. Japan and South Korea should compensate for this lacuna. It would be idealistic that Japan, South Korea, Russia, China, Mongolia, and the United States join the new framework --- and North Korea also in due course. The expectation is high for the establishment of such a framework of cooperation in East Asia.

5 Infectious diseases like COVID-19 do not respect national borders. Close cross-border cooperation is necessary to prepare for similar epidemics. There are concerns about the future occurrence of new infectious diseases every five to ten years. In preparation for unknown epidemics, Japan and South Korea should share viral genetic information and undertake joint research on and production of vaccines. Because there is a racial kinship between Japanese and Korean, both vaccines and therapeutic agents to be developed may have similar effects on them. Joint clinical trials and data sharing would make it possible for both countries to develop and produce vaccines or therapeutic agents in a short time.

6 The international community as a whole must deal with the COVID-19 crisis, whereas the democratic and authoritarian regimes differ in their response to the pandemic. Japan and South Korea should propose to the world a transparent epidemic prevention system based on democratic principles. Domestically, on the other hand, a significant concern is given to which generation should have priority for investment, the younger or the elderly. Both countries, faced with the aging population issue, are expected to prioritize investment in the younger generation. Although this will ultimately depend on political decisions, 1.5 track efforts will make complementary contributions.

7 It is quite hard to balance the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 and economic vitalization. South Korea is tightening or mitigating social distancing and other prevention measures while monitoring the status of infection. The central government and local governments provided subventions to the foodservice industry and stores that suffered severe damage. The central government distributed relief money to all the citizens while providing the companies with employment maintenance support funds. South Korea will register a budget deficit this year.

8 In response to the COVID-19 crisis, IT technology has significantly changed connections, raising various relevant questions. As a result, paradoxically, analog connections are eagerly supported. The United States is changing its inward-looking orientation to one of assuming proactive roles in the international community. These phenomena are likely to help improve the Japan-ROK relationship.

9 Japan should squarely face historical issues. The Japanese must be aware that its annexation of Korea, legal as it was, deprived the country of its independence and disbanded its troops. Japan asserts that it modernized South Korea during the annexation period. But she cannot justify the modernization of Korea following the annexation as beneficial to Koreans. Generally speaking, Japanese people lack an understanding of South Korea. To understand another country's people, we must first know who is its leader and the background and course of his life. Japanese should peruse the autobiography of President Moon Jae-in written by himself before taking the presidential office and his remarks on the importance of a two-track approach. Conversely, South Koreans also lack an understanding of Japan.

10 How should we link the fluctuating society in an age of COVID-19 and the issue of regional revitalization? Japan's controversial "Go To Travel" campaign is one of the policies aimed at revitalizing regional Japan divided by the COVID-19 crisis. From now on, we should not choose one between "the economy" and "medical care" but seek a solution in sublating them. Japan and South Korea should continue an in-depth dialogue on this issue.

11 The annexation of Japan and Korea is an erroneous expression. It must be said the Japanese annexation of Korea. The primary problem of the Japanese annexation of Korea is that it deprived Koreans of their identity. Some people say that Japan helped Korea in its modernization and development. But the truth is that incorporating the Korean Peninsula in its territories, Japan developed Korea for its own benefits, not for helping Korea to its feet. Koreans consider Hirobumi Ito to be the root of evil. But it was Aritomo Yamagata that was a real hardliner against Korea. Japan-ROK cooperation is now stuck in a stubborn impasse. It is paradoxical indeed that the COVID-19 crisis seems to urge Japan and South Korea to become ready for bilateral cooperation at this moment. Both countries should move forward for cooperation, setting historical and other thorny issues aside by, for example, adopting a two-track approach.

12 We hope that the Tokyo Olympics will give a strong thrust toward restoring Japan-South Korea relations. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan and South Korea should confirm their commitment to the protection of personal information and privacy and liberalism, and pursue joint research efforts toward the development of smart cities as a response to population concentration in the metropolitan areas, the depopulation of rural areas, and the age of 120 years of life. Both countries are anticipated to launch a North Asian version of a leaders' conference of the kind that can be found in any other region but North Asia and to build a framework of cooperation. We propose to study this initiative through a 1.5 track dialogue.

13 Democratic, liberal, and privacy-conscious countries are capable of achieving many things by technology. With new technologies --- blockchain, data sandbox, secure computation technology, distributed ID ---, Japan has the potential to solve the most leading challenges. Japan should cooperate with South Korea to this end. Various devices are just a terminal that collects information; it is a common challenge for Japan and South Korea to find a winning pattern in developing the business model of retrieving information by reorganizing big data, AI, and algorithms.

Closing Remarks

One representative from each of the Japanese and Korean sides made closing remarks. All the participants confirmed the significance of conducting a post-COVID-19 dialogue on a bilateral basis and the orientation Japan and South Korea should take in the future.

(The Japanese speaker) Communication gaps have emerged between the United States and China; between Japan and South Korea. We should eliminate those gaps and better understand one another. Japan and South Korea must continue to search for solutions for pending issues. In an age of US-China conflict, Japan and South Korea should make joint efforts to promote peacebuilding in the Asia-Pacific region through cooperation frameworks such as TPP, ASEAN, and RCEP, and collaboration with East Asian countries, and strive to share democratic elements even with China.

(The South Korean speaker) We want to emphasize that in an era of COVID-19 and digital transformation, Japan and South Korea should endeavor together to work out solutions for problems for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable future. The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated digitization, posing a common challenge for humankind. Sharing our experiences and even worries associated with the corona crisis, Japan and South Korea can extract wisdom for designing their future.

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