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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 13:23 06/30/2008
News Review #452: June 30, 2008

Japan Warns NKorea Trying to Divide Tokyo and Washington

Reviewed by Takahiro MIYAO

Japan Warns NKorea Trying to Divide Tokyo and Washington
AFP (6/29/2008)


It is reported in the AFP article linked above that on Sunday Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura gave a warning against North Korea's "tactics" to divide Japan and the U.S. The announcement came in response to North Korea's move to submit a list of its nuclear programs and Washington's intention to take North Korea off the terrorism list in return last week. It is well known that the Japanese government has been objecting to such delisting unless the so-called "abduction issue" is resolved. From the standpoint of the Japanese government, therefore, the recent developments based solely on the nuclear issue are not acceptable, and can be considered a deliberate effort on the part of Pyongyang to divide Tokyo and Washington.

Although it is understandable, in view of emotional reactions to the abduction issue within the country, that the Japanese government cannot help but to give such a warning against North Korea's "tactics," it certainly looks odd from outside to emphasize a historic, bilateral problem such as the abduction issue at least as equally as a current, multilateral problem such as the nuclear issue in negotiating with North Korea. It is also odd to think that North Korea would benefit by dividing Japan and the U.S., because Pyongyang should be better off by making Japan more dependent on, not independent of, the U.S., as the relationship between North Korea and the U.S. improves. Of course, the abduction issue itself remains to be a very serious problem, and Tokyo should negotiate with Pyongyang toward a resolution of this issue, but in a bilateral way and not in the context of a multinational issue like the nuclear problem.

It may be about time for the Japanese government to reprioritize foreign policy issues. At least a reasonable distinction should be made between bilateral issues and multilateral issues. At any rate, a majority of Japanese are likely to agree that objective calculations rather than subjective emotions should rule in diplomacy.

This review is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):

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