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“Japan Will Not Respond to North Korea’s Nuclear Program by Going Nuclear”

“Japan Will Not Respond to North Korea’s Nuclear Program by Going Nuclear”

Posted June. 27, 2005 06:18,   


According to an analysis, even if North Korea goes nuclear, Japan will neither develop nuclear weapons nor attempt to put restraint on North Korea on its own.

The analysis is in a new report titled “North Korea and Japan-the Frame of Conflict” by the International Crisis Group (ICG), an organization that conducts research on international crises and conflicts. The report is due out on June 27.

The 24-page report was prepared by five experts on U.S. and European policies including ICG North East Asia Project Director Peter Beck. The report was written based on interviews with specialists on diplomatic affairs including Japanese government officials.

The Dong-A Ilbo got access to the report on June 26 and took a look at the gist of it.

“Japan Will Not Develop Nuclear Weapons”–

The report speculates that Japan will promote nuclear programs in case: its security guarantee by the U.S. is undermined; China’s naval capabilities expand; or uncertainties about North Korea’s nuclear possession continue to exist.

Even if the North pushes ahead with nuclear tests, if the three preconditions are not fully met, Japan will not pursue nuclear weapons, the report says.

The report predicts that even in case the Japanese government decides to further develop its nuclear programs, gaining a public consensus favorable to the development project alone will take five to 10 years.

In fact, Japan already has enough plutonium (upwards of five tons) to produce hundreds of nuclear weapons. If it actually starts production, it would take less than three months, the report suggests.

Japan’s North Korean Policy and Japan-North Korea Relations–

The report suspects that Japan alone will not seek sanctions on North Korea.

As Japan’s economic exchanges with North Korea diminish, Japan’s attempts at sanctions would not be satisfactory. In addition, the attempts could weaken Japan’s “leverage” in negotiations on the nuclear issue with North Korea. So Japan, the report says, will prefer alternatives such as applying multilateral sanctions and restricting North Korean ships coming into Japanese ports.

On North Korean strategies in the future, the report argues that Japan should rely on both “carrot (restoring North Korea-Japan relations to its previously normal state)” and “stick (sanctions).”

At the moment, the issue of those Japanese abducted by North Korea is obstructing the way to improved Japan-North Korea relations. To settle the matter, the first things to do for Japan is, the report stresses, clarify its demands to North Korea.

Jung-Ahn Kim credo@donga.com