There is also a disparity in how Americans and Japanese view South Korea. Nearly half (49 percent) of Americans trust Seoul, but only 21 percent of Japanese do. Much of this Japanese-Korean enmity arises out of the unresolved legacy of Japan’s colonial occupation of Korea through the end of World War II. A 2013 Pew Research Center survey found that 98 percent of South Koreans felt that Japan had not apologized sufficiently for its activities in the 1930s and 1940s. One of the contentious issues is the Japanese army’s use of Korean “comfort women” — women forced into prostitution — which many Koreans believe Japan has not atoned for sufficiently. The Korean-American community has made this issue a cause célèbre and it may well come up in the press during Abe’s late-April visit to the United States. Yet 57 percent of Americans say they have never heard of the tensions over the comfort women issue.
Both countries maintained mutual diplomatic relationships since the early-19th century traditionally been characterized by an important trade and investment relationship and cooperation in controlling the production and transit of illegal drugs . After the election of Presidents Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and George W. Bush of the United States and particularly after the Venezuelan failed coup attempt in 2002 against Chavez, tensions between the countries escalated, reaching a high in September 2008 when Venezuela broke off diplomatic relations with the . Relations showed signs of improvement in 2009 with the election of the new . President Barack Obama , including the re-establishment of diplomatic relations in June 2009.
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