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On the global scene, meanwhile, World War I was raging, with the five great powers of Europe—Austria-Hungary, Britain, France, Germany, and Russia—locked in mortal combat.
The United States and the Soviet Union had emerged as the two main victors of this second global conflict, and their rivalry had developed into the Cold War between their respective blocs.
Particularly here in East Asia, about the only notable development over this period was the unification of North and South Vietnam; otherwise the nations of the region have basically continued to exist within the same borders.
Even the end of the Cold War, which resulted in a dramatic transformation of the international framework in Europe, did not affect the legacy of division between North and South Korea and between China and Taiwan.
On the political front, meanwhile, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, benefiting from the tailwind of economic growth, had built a solid majority in the National Diet and was on its way to establishing its long-term hold on power.
In South Korea, meanwhile, though 12 years had passed since the end of the Korean War, times were still hard in many respects.