Sixty years have passed since the signing and enactment of the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Prepared against the background of the intensifying Cold War and signed by forty-nine countries (but not by the USSR, China, nor Korea), this multilateral treaty fell far short of settling outstanding issues at the end of World War II or facilitating a clean start for the “postwar” period. Rather, various aspects of the settlement were left equivocal.
In East Asian nations, the time span of sixty years (“kanreki” in Japanese) has special meaning, signifying the end of one historical cycle and the beginning of a new spirit and a new era in time. In reality, however, the major destabilizing factors in this region are still the old lingering WWII/Cold War regional conflicts, such as the territorial disputes between Japan and its neighbors, the tensions in the Korean peninsula, and the Taiwan Strait problem. This presentation will focus on these unresolved problems in terms of their treatment in the San Francisco Peace Treaty, and consider their contemporary status and future trajectories in East Asia.
Kimie Hara specializes in modern and contemporary international relations of the Asia-Pacific region. Her books include Cold War Frontiers in the Asia-Pacific: Divided Territories in the San Francisco System (2007, 2012), Japanese Diplomacy through the Eyes of Japanese Scholars Overseas (2009, edited in Japanese), Northern Territories, Asia-Pacific Regional Conflicts and the Åland Experience: Untying the Kurillian Knot (2009, edited with Geoffrey Jukes), and Japanese-Soviet/Russian Relations since 1945: A Difficult Peace (1998). She received her Ph.D. from the Australian National University and held visiting fellowships/professorships at the Kyoto University, the University of Tokyo, the International Institute for Asian Studies/University of Amsterdam, the East-West Center, Stockholm University, and the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Science.