Much of the debate over Japan's historical disputes with neighboring countries treat unresolved issues from World War II as an intra-Asian problem. In recent years, however, there is a growing view that the United States can hardly afford to stand outside these disputes, particularly since it was intimately involved in their formation immediately after the war. The U.S. was the undisputed leader of the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, which failed to address Japanese war crimes against Asian victims. The U.S. also brokered the San Francisco Peace Treaty, which laid the legal framework to deter Asian victims from filing suits against the Japanese government and corporations for wartime grievances. The United States should address its responsibility in contributing to Japan's "history problem," while playing a constructive role in facilitating historical reconciliation in Northeast Asia.
Professor Gi-Wook Shin is the director of Shorenstein APARC; the Tong Yang, Korea Foundation, and Korea Stanford Alumni Chair of Korean Studies; the founding director of the Korean Studies Program; senior fellow at FSI; and professor of sociology at Stanford University. As a historical-comparative and political sociologist, his research has concentrated on areas of social movements, nationalism, development, and international relations. Dr. Shin has served as editor of the Journal of Korean Studies, a premier journal in the field of Korean studies.