The Japanese have spent the post-war period trying to live down their militaristic past. That past includes some quite a history on the Korean Peninsula, where their actions still reverberate to this day. Make no mistake; Kim Jong-Il’s threat against the Japanese comes not just from ideological motivations but also from a strong sense of vengeance for Japanese atrocities in the not-so-distant past. While Japan has changed tremendously since those final days of empire, they have yet to live down their actions in that region.
Now Japan may have to face the irony of re-militarization as a consequence of the atrocities of their grandfathers. It appears they have little choice, with North Korea wanting to make a habit out of launching missiles as “tests” over their territory. They agreed to send a small but significant force to Iraq, a singular event for a nation that had resolved to keep its military for strictly home defense. Now, with Pyongyang threatening their security, they may have to consider nuclearization as at least a negotiating tactic and possibly as a MAD strategy. Without doubt, they will need to make themselves part of the American umbrella against missile attacks, a defense that had been so controversial just a few years ago.
Japanese will start to produce their Patriot missiles according to Defense Industry Daily.
Well, really we must not worry about Kim Song Il, but about USA, Murtha dixit:
American presence in Iraq is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran, U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said to a crowd of more than 200 in North Miami Saturday afternoon.
Read at Tangled Web.
The Big Picture comments about this:
What does the average person make of a headline like this, from the Arizona Daily Star?
South Korean newspaper Choson ilbo yesterday reported that Kim Jong-il’s special armored train crossed the border of Russia. Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and frontier and railway administration said they don’t know anything about Kim Jong-il’s arrival. Experts believe the visit is quite likely, especially because North Korean leader has urgent problems to discuss with the Kremlin.
Choson ilbo informed that several witnesses saw Kim Jong-il’s special armored train cross Russian border. The date was not specified. Foreign Affairs Ministries of Russia and South Korea said they have no information concerning Kim Jong-il’s visit to Russia.
Foreign Affairs Ministry of China and US Department of State refrained from giving comments. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said that Japanese government is now clearing up the situation. Press Secretary of Far East Railroad’s Vladivostok branch Alexander Artamonov stated that his “department does not have any information on North Korean leader’s trips to Russia.”
it has become clear that the two countries are also pursuing similar diplomatic strategies. North Korea’s threat to launch a long-range ballistic missile seems a clear echo of Iran’s recent strategy of resuming production of nuclear fuel. Iran was aiming to extract concessions from the Bush administration, and it has already won some modest diplomatic gains.
[By the way, the photo is marvellous, eh?]
If finally North Korea launches the missile, Japan could impose sanctions.
And it’s possible than the missile test could take place. Enzo Reale, from 1972, have sent me by email his article in Italian newspaper L’Opinione, in which he says that the presence of fuel in the surroundings of the missile-launcher. I translate the most important ideas -from my point of view-:
in 1998, a Taepodong I flied over Japan causing alarm and the reaction of the US Senate. It was next year when the moratory over the missile testing was signed. Pyongyang [as in that momment] does not confirm or deny anything, a tactical movement which is revelled as triomphant over Western diplomacy.
[...] Pyongyand has been succesful, because he has come again to the first place of the international scene and can then suppose that he is going to be granted more concessions in the new multilateral talks about the nuclear question. Assuming the nature of Him’s Goulag, no one can even imagine that he does not know the consequences of this king of movements.
[...] The test of the Taepodong 2 is in the end the last proof to consider that North Korea possess the know-how to develop the following version of the missile, the Taepodong 3, with power to fire into the interior of the US territory.
More as ever, in Occidentality. It contains the demand by US Senators to demand the White House to speak directly with N.Korea -I do not know how they are going to convince the other 4 negotiatiors- and Bush statement.
UDPATE: Hugo Chávez has announced he will visit Pyongyang to finish agreements on technology and scientific matters, but he did not give more details. Sean McCormack, Speaker of the US State Department, has said that he is not sure of what Chávez wants, but that “giving N. Korea’s aim, it is somewhat worrying“.