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[Editorial] Japan Shining

Posted July. 19, 2006 03:01,   


The diplomacy of Japan, which led to the adoption of a punitive U.N. resolution against North Korea, is now drawing the attention of the international society. Not only are some Japanese saying the adoption of the resolution as a great triumph of Japan’s diplomacy, but also Steven Hadley, U.S. National Security Advisor, referred it as a great achievement and triumph of Japan’s diplomacy. In other words, the North Korea’s missile launches have helped Japan emerge as a diplomatic and military power.

Japan has hardly ever raised its own voice on major agendas of the international community for the past half century after losing World War II. Japan just simply followed the doctrines of the United States under the U.S. alliance framework. For instance, although Japan contributed 13 billion dollars to support the U.S. led Gulf War in 1991, it did not hear a word of appreciation. It even had to endure an unfavorable sentiment when it brought out the kidnap issue during the six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear issue.

However, Japan is now leading the fate of North Korea’s missile issue. It is also taking initiatives in pressuring North Korea in the international society through reviewing on banning cash remittances, limiting trade and freezing assets. Although it may seem to be a natural response of Japan whose security has been threatened, the missile launches have eventually given a crucial excuse for Japan to emerge as an international power.

Japan is now speeding up building its missile defense system by joining hands with the U.S., and this will eventually allow it to have military strategies that cover not only North Korea but China. It is ironic that Japan, which made its economic foundation during the Korean War, is now becoming the supreme power in Northeast Asia by exploiting the tension created due to the missile launches.

In this regard, President Roh Moo-Hyun, however, spoke out-loudly without any action, saying, “Things will be clear when we confront Japan face to face.” The statement makes us wonder if President Roh has any understanding of the mechanism that has been triggered by the North Korea’s missile launches. President Roh should also be aware of the fact that expressing anger without considering diverse perspectives in international relationships often results in unfavorable outcomes. South Korea’s diplomacy seems to be shaky.