[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Compromise is key

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[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Compromise is key

Scott Snyder is certainly right in that South Korea and Japan should put their past behind them and cooperate for the best of the two, and moreover, Northeast Asia. (“History dispute threatens peace” July 9)
However, although the United States mediating is ideal, it will be hard for the Western nation to settle the never-ending squabbles between Korea and Japan. Their nationalism has permeated so deeply into both sides that the most crucial factor for any reconciliation is mutual compromise.
What Japan can do is to make a public apology for its past wrongdoings and immediately plan a revision of its distorted textbooks. Also, Tokyo can give up its claim on the Dokdo islets, which are obviously Korea’s territory, as Koreans live on the islets and the area is controlled by the Korean government.
Korea, for its part, can overlook Japanese leaders’ visits to the Yasukuni Shrine. It should stop condemning the Japanese for paying tribute to their ancestors. Every country has its own way of respecting its forefathers and the fact that war criminals are buried there should not stop the Japanese from paying visits. They have every right to respect their ancestors, criminals or not.
These simple-sounding steps will not be easy, for they will scratch both nations’ pride. However, waiting for another country to help or for the problem to disappear will only waste time. It is sometimes important to swallow one’s pride in order to pursue the best path, and I believe that now is the time for both Korea and Japan to take a step back and offer each other a helping hand.

by Kim Yae-eun
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