New leaders in Japan and South Korea

Elections were held in Japan, and Shinzo Abe’s political party won. Abe has become the new prime minister of Japan. He is Japan’s seventh prime minister in the last six years. This is the second time Abe has become the prime minister. He was previously prime minister for less than a year in 2006-2007. He resigned because he lost popularity.  Since Abe’s resignation, the next 5 prime ministers were not able to hold the post for more than a year. Abe announced that his number one priority is improving Japan’s economy.

Park Geun-hye was elected to be South Korea’s president. She is the country’s first female president. She is the daughter of Park Chung-hee who was South Korea’s president from 1961 to 1979. Chung-hee is remembered for South Korea’s economic development under his leadership. He helped turn South Korea into a leading industrialized nation. Improving South Korea’s economy is also one of the promises of Geun-hye. One of her other goals is to improve the relationship with North Korea and to help the people of North Korea.

North and South Korea were part of a single country called Korea for over four thousand years until they were split in 1948. The two countries have evolved very differently from each other. The North Korean government very strictly controls many aspects of its citizens’ lives. People don’t have access to many gadgets and conveniences. It is believed that there are food and power shortages in the country.  South Korea is democratic. The citizens of the country have a very high standard of living.

The Japanese and South Koreans share a love for hi-tech gadgets and robots. They have the fanciest cell phones, TVs, video games, and other electronics. They both have been leaders in creating new robots. The countries have robots that can teach, take care of elders, do simple chores, babysit kids, plant rice, vacuum office corridors, and tons more. You can watch CIROS, a South Korean robot,  chop vegetables.


ASIMO, a Japanese robot, can walk, run, follow a person, conduct an orchestra, pour a drink, and even change its path to avoid collision. The two countries have also given us good cars, such as Honda from Japan and Hyundai from South Korea. Besides cars and gadgets, the two countries have also created popular forms of martial arts. Taekwondo originates from Korea and Judo from Japan. The Japanese have also helped Karate evolve into the art it is today.

A tiff Japan and South Korea have had is over some islands called Dokdo by the Koreans and Takeshima by the Japanese. The islands are located between the two countries in the Sea of Japan and have been occupied by South Korea. Earlier this month, officials from Japan and South Korea met to work on improving the two countries’ relationship.

 Image Credits: TTTNIS for Abe’s image