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Japanese North Korean Policy Leans towards “Pressure”

Posted December. 26, 2004 22:38,   


The Japanese policy on North Korea is leaning more towards “pressure” rather than “dialogue.” Following the “fake remains” stir, combined with the lack of credibility of the information given from North Korea on the 10 kidnapped Japanese, the voice of pro-dialogue politicians in the political circle have become extremely weak.

Even Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who decided on normalization with North Korea as the pivotal foreign assignment during his term in office, is being pressured by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the people to apply economic sanctions on North Korea (NK).

A foreign news source in Tokyo indicated, “The Japanese government has so far maintained a cautious attitude towards NK because of the nuclear issue, but there is a great possibility of sanctions against NK to start next year due to anti-NK sentiment further instigated by NK’s insincere attitude.”

On Friday, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda discussed the possibility of applying economic sanctions depending on North Korea’s attitude, saying, “If there is no sincerity shown from NK, the Japanese government has no choice but to make this hard decision.” The Japanese press interpreted Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda’s statement of sanctions against NK as an ultimatum, standing on the side of caution, following Prime Minister Koizumi’s view. Currently, the voice of economic sanctions against NK is louder in the Japanese political circle. Katsuya Okada, the current leader of the opposition Democratic Party, has sided with LDP’s hard-stance towards NK and recently, even the Communist Party has agreed on applying economic sanctions on NK. The Asahi Shimbun reported that since U.S. President George W. Bush will start his second term in office next January with a hard-line stance towards NK’s nuclear issue, it will be easier for Japan to go with the sanctions plan. However, since it will bring tension on the Korean Peninsula, the Japanese government is in a dilemma.

Won-Jae Park parkwj@donga.com