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74 Percent of Japanese Support Economic Sanctions against North Korea

74 Percent of Japanese Support Economic Sanctions against North Korea

Posted December. 14, 2004 22:00,   


Enraged by the “fake human bones,” public sentiment within Japan that North Korea should be sanctioned is gaining strength.

On the other hand, the U.S. is worried that Japan might actually implement economic sanction measures and exert a negative influence on the six-party talks to resolve the North Korea nuclear issue.

Following the House of Representatives, the House of Councilors of Japan unanimously adopted a resolution requesting the government to apply sanctions, including laws on revised foreign exchange management and special measures to prohibit the docking of certain ships. It was in accordance to the public sentiment in which 74 percent supported economic sanctions against North Korea.

Before the event, polls on December 11 and 12 conducted by the Yomiuri Daily for and against sanctions were 74 and 19 percent each. Also in the public-opinion polls conducted by the Mainichi and the Kyodo News, more than 70 percent supported economic sanctions.

For now, the Japanese government announced that it is not considering immediate sanctions, but only carefully showing the possibility. It is because the government is burdened in crossing a “river of no return.” The Japanese government is reviewing the measure to request Pyongyang to send fact-finding results back by next March. Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro showed a prudent posture, saying, “The sentiment (requesting sanctions) is natural. There is more than one way to exert pressure, and I believe that it is not timely to make pressuring comments at this time.”

The U.S.’ position is even more prudent. Yesterday, Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage expressed apprehension on Japan’s sanction movements to Minister of Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs Koike Yuriko who is visiting the U.S., “The card of economic sanction is only advantageous when shown, but it is a disaster when actually applied.”

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com