In January 2015, International Student Conferences (ISC) is going to implement the 3rd JASC-KASC Trilateral Symposium that will bring together university students from the US, Japan, and Korea and discuss the future and cooperation of three countries. The students will discuss three topics that is timely and relevant for the US, Japan and Korea: security alliance, immigration, and urban sustainability and challenges.
Objective of ISC’s Third Trilateral Symposium
Given the student-run nature of JASC and KASC, ISC is uniquely positioned to empower the students – our future leaders – to discuss the importance of U.S.-Japan-Korea trilateral partnership and possible solutions to alleviate the tension between the two countries. The purpose of the symposium is to create a “safe forum” in which students are able to speak about sensitive issues and share ideas on how the youth in the three countries can build a stronger trust and personal ties in order to better understand each other.
To this end, ISC will bring together 26 student leaders, including 8-Americans and 8-Japanese students representing JASC and 5 American and 5 Korean students representing KASC for a joint JASC-KASC program in January 2015. The main objectives of this trilateral symposium are:
- To enhance U.S.-Japan-Republic of Korea trilateral cooperation by facilitating dialogue among and educating the future generation of Americans, Japanese and South Koreans on the importance of the trilateral relationship for peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
- To demonstrate to the larger audience the ability of the younger generation to engage in a productive dialogue on U.S.-Japan-ROK relations, including the issues of history and ideas for improving trilateral cooperation.
History of Trilateral Symposium
JASC and KASC have been contributing to strengthening the United States’ bilateral relationship with Japan and Korea by promoting friendship and understanding between future leaders of each country. In 2013, ISC launched a new initiative to engage JASC and KASC future leaders in a broader conversation on the regional issues that surround the United States-Japan-Korea trilateral relationship.
ISC’s first trilateral symposium, “Joint Student Symposium: Fostering the U.S.-Korea-Japan Partnership for the Future,” was held on June 6, 2013 and brought together subject matter experts, the student leaders of JASC and KASC, as well as DC-based university students and young professionals. The event was such a success that ISC held the second annual JASC-KASC Trilateral Symposium on January 30, 2014. Due to a generous grant, ISC was able to bring Korean student leaders to Washington, DC for the Symposium. This second Symposium had a much larger audience, and was marked by the instant chemistry and bonding that took place between JASC and KASC students.
Now, ISC is in the midst of planning the third JASC-KASC Trilateral Symposium. This Symposium has the opportunity to be truly trilateral: student leaders from the U.S., Japan, and Korea are all planning to attend. The Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPFUSA) has provided a grant to cover the cost for the Japanese students’ participation; however, ISC is still seeking financial support for the Korean students’ participation.
Schedule of Trilateral Symposium
ISC will bring together student leaders of their two programs, the Japan-America Student Conference (JASC) and the Korea-America Student Conference (KASC), including 8 Americans and 8 Japanese students representing JASC, and 5 American and 5 Korean students representing KASC for a joint JASC-KASC program from January 4-11, 2015.
Topics for Trilateral Symposium
The student leaders from Korea, Japan and the US, in consultation with ISC, decided on the following list of topics relevant to the future of the US-Japan-Korea relationship:
Security Alliance: Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of ROK-Japan relations. Despite shared security problems, including the North Korean nuclear threat, historical and diplomatic tensions have often been stumbling blocks preventing cooperation between the three countries. The U.S., ROK and Japan should establish a solid security alliance and community built upon confidence and trust to overcome barriers between the three countries, and coordinate a response to the pressing security issues in the region.
Immigration: While immigration policies differ in Japan, United States, and South Korea, many have agreed that the current structure is imperfect and reform is necessary. Through comparing each country’s unique situation and current policies on immigration, the US, Japan and Korea can note successful methods and where they can tailor best practices to restructure their own immigration systems and better incorporate minority groups into society.
Urban Future and its Challenges: In all three countries, the majority of people now live in cities like Seoul, Tokyo, New York, which are social and cultural epicenters. However, urban dwellers and planners in these cities face challenges such as overcrowding, extreme depopulation of rural areas, sustainability, and development. By contrasting how major cities in each country are meeting these challenges, the US, Korea and Japan can examine the future of urban living in these countries and the role of cities in each country’s overall development.
The Trilateral Symposium is expected to build strong ties among students who have been selected to join the prestigious JASC and KASC programs and have the promise of becoming future leaders in their own countries. The program is also expected to demonstrate to a larger audience the ability of the younger generation to overcome the issues of the past and have a productive and forward-looking dialogue on U.S.-ROK-Japan relations.