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Japan, “North Korea Still a Threat…Will Focus on Immediate Countermeasure”

Japan, “North Korea Still a Threat…Will Focus on Immediate Countermeasure”

Posted July. 06, 2004 22:15,   


On July 6, the Japanese government announced that, “Despite the six-way talks, the risk of a North Korean military provocation has not disappeared” and that the Self-Defense Forces should focus on being equipped with a prompt and an effective countermeasure in preparation for this matter.

The Japanese government announced as such in the “2004 Edition of Defense Review” which was passed during the Cabinet council this day and emphasized that they are planning to continue the modernization of equipment, including tanks, combat planes, and submarines in order to strengthen its restraint against war.

The Review analyzed that, “North Korea is maintaining and strengthening its so-called ‘unbalanced military strength’ of massive killing weapons, ballistic missiles, and large-scale special squad unit (that Japan does not possess),” and added, “The military strength of North Korea is an ‘important anxiety factor’ in East Asia and has become a threat to Japan.”

Examining the Political Atmosphere—

Regarding the political atmosphere in East Asia, The Review pointed out that, “The friction between China and Taiwan is continuing, and it has become easy for a military strife to break out due to the reorganization of the U.S. Armed Forces that have been responsible for the regional security.”

In addition, while introducing the fact that the U.S. Department of Defense decided to dispatch 3,600 soldiers of the U.S. Armed Forces in Korea to Iraq, the Review added, “The focus is on how the reorganization of the U.S Armed Forces will affect the security atmosphere in the Asia Pacific region.”

The Review warned, “It is estimated that the increased rate of China’s national defense expenditure this year has exceeded by 10 percent” and added, “A close observation is needed to examine whether China’s expansion of national defense expenditure has gone beyond the necessary extent for self-defense.”

On the military strength of China and Taiwan, the Review indicated that, “In cases of naval and aerial military strength, China is in an overwhelmingly predominant position in terms of quantity; however, Taiwan is a cut above China in quality,” and expressed its opinion that China’s landing attack on Taiwan seems unlikely to succeed in the current situation.

Positive Towards Overseas Expansion of Self-Defense Forces—

The Review revealed that, “The dispatch of Self-Defense Forces to Iraq is receiving high evaluation from the international society,” and asserted that structured equipment is necessary in order to promptly dispatch the Self-Defense Forces to foreign locations of strife.

Alongside, the Review also proposed the necessity of amending the three policies on the issue of weapons export while, for the first time, introducing the opinion of allowing collective defense rights that have been considered unconstitutional up until now.

Concerning the Missile Defense (MD) system that they are jointly developing with the U.S., the Review asserted that, “It is strictly for defense purposes without any alternative methods, and it also corresponds to the policy of concentrating on defense.”

In addition, regarding the issue of “defense equipment scheme” with its plan to “only being equipped with the minimum necessary defense force,” the Review expressed its opinion of reexamining the defense-focused policy by stating, “A further discussion is needed to decide whether it is still valid.”

Won-Jae Park parkwj@donga.com