When North Korea and South Korea competed in several Winter Olympic sports as a unified team, the news seemed to be a rare de-escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula. So, too, with the report this week that North Korea may be open to scaling back its nuclear efforts.
But while that all seems like welcome news, there are many countries that are still wary and are watching North Korea closely. Japan, for example, has a long history of animosity with North Korea.
Doctor Fumiaki Kubo, professor of American Government and History at the University of Tokyo, says that the direction of the United States' national security policy has always been a serious concern for Japan.
Dr. Kubo notes that while President Trump has become less isolationist since his campaign, trade policy is of greater concern. "Sometimes (Trump) made remarks pretty negative about Japan on trade reform, so we still have some concern. And also, sometimes what he says is a little bit inconsistent - even on North Korea," he says. "That is also a little bit worrisome to Japan, but overall I think the current situation is much better than it looked when he got elected."
While North Korea is the immediate concern for Japan and its leaders, Dr. Kubo says China might, in fact, be an even more serious threat to Japan's security in the long run. "China is more powerful in many senses and we have pretty serious territorial disputes with China."