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Japan-South Korea rift

South Korean bestseller attacking anti-Japan 'tribalism' stirs debate

Opposition says Moon's harsh criticism of Tokyo has effect of isolating nation

South Koreans chant during an anti-Japan rally in Seoul in August.   © Reuters

SEOUL -- A recent book has become an unexpected hit in South Korea by making an argument that is unpopular, even dangerous, in the country.

In "Anti-Japan Tribalism," Seoul National University Professor Emeritus Lee Young-hoon and four co-authors contend that the way South Korean governments handle relations with Japan is wrongheaded. The writers argue that instead of getting hung up on historical disagreements and painting Japan as a villain, the two countries would be better off finding ways to cooperate for mutual benefit.

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