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Politics & Society International Relations

JAPANESE INTERNATIONAL
RELATIONS
Japan – North Korea Relations Japan – Nepal Relations
In a recent meeting in Beijing, North Korea proposed a firm date on which In the first significant move since being upgraded to a legitimate ministry,
it plans to return to the nuclear negotiating table after 13 months of self-im- the Defense Ministry has approved a plan to deploy ten SDF personnel to a
posed exile from the six-party talks. According to the Asahi Shimbun, six- collaborative U.N. military observer mission. According to a recent article
party framework countries Russia, America, Japan, China and South Korea in the Japan Times, the Defense Ministry’s new mandate is to focus on
saw the gesture as a positive step toward North Korea scrapping its nuclear “international cooperation efforts abroad.” The move comes in the wake of

North Korea's Other Deterrent


development initiatives and rejoining the international community’s nuclear Prime minister Abe’s commitment to sending Japanese Defense Ministry
non-proliferation agreement. However, the major sticking point of lifting personnel into conflict areas as long as the forces are used only to bol-
economic sanctions on North Korea remains a pivotal fulcrum on which ster international peace and stability. In Nepal, the main task of the U.N.
By William Brooks
neither North Korea nor the international community seem willing to shift military observer group will be to monitor the implementation of the most
their weight. At the time of printing, in a strange reversal of policy, the U.S. recent ceasefire between Maoist rebels and the Nepalese government, but
Since 2000, the government of South Korea has gone out of its way one penny towards reunification. Moreover, 65% believe that the North surrendered concessions to Pyongyang in return for nuclear non-prolifera- the Defense Ministry will be specifically tasked with arms management
to engage with its communist northern neighbor. The so-called “Sunshine should receive less economic aid from the South. With youth unemploy- tion. The durability of this agreement remains to be seen. and information gathering between the two sides.
Policy” has indeed produced stronger trans-border business ties and created ment rising and the wealth gap widening in the South, many want to see
generous aid packages bound for Pyongyang. The policy has also encour- public money go towards projects in which they can see realistic benefits. Analysis: Throughout history, the U.N. has consistently sanctioned coun- Analysis: Prime Minister Abe’s got himself a shiny new toy and now he’s
aged the South to tone down the content of radio programs it broadcasts tries (see Iraq, Cuba, Iran, India and Pakistan for examples) and the world got parliament’s permission to go out and play with it. Nepal is still consid-
into the North – now featuring fewer shrill and bellicose denouncements According to CIA estimates, the North’s per capita GDP is approximately has consistently witnessed their complete futility in deterring behavior or ered a hot zone and Abe’s urgency at having Defense Ministry personnel
of communism. However, with the citizens of the North being continu- $1,800 compared to $24,200 in the South. Due to an increasingly con- compelling action. The international community likes them because they involved there is probably a precursor for things to come. Abe has always
ously denied basic human rights and Pyongyang’s recent demonstration stricting military budget, every other sector of industry, agriculture and mean no soldiers in harm’s way, North Korea likes them too because it been an outspoken advocate for increasing the role of Japan’s military
of nuclear capability, officials all over Asia, not least in Japan, feel that the public service is chronically underfunded. As long as the major concern of means they don’t really need to comply with anything. Willingness to ne- so look for Defense Ministry personnel being deployed to conflict areas
Sunshine Policy is failing. the Northern elite remains holding onto power, major reform is unlikely. gotiate on sanctions seems a peculiar change in policy for the stubborn throughout the world (Afghanistan & Sudan in the immediately future),
After all, they certainly don’t want to repeat the former Soviet Union’s sui- rogue state. Look for the talks to break down in the upcoming second and don’t be surprised when reports start showing that situations com-
Although a plethora of more advanced technology exists, radio broadcasts cidal mistakes of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (transparency). round – the round concerned specifically with lifting sanctions. pelled Japanese troops to become more than just “observers.”
still play a powerful role in modern politics in democratic countries. For
example, though the content varies greatly, talk radio is still hugely popular The United Nations’ sanctions against luxury items – one of the more novel
among conservative and liberal listeners in America. In Britain, recent con- ways to undermine the regime – appear to be having the desired affect. Ac- Japan – China Relations Japan – Thailand Relations
troversy over an episode of the BBC’s Today program brought about the cording to Kim Sung Min, a northern defector who now runs Free North According to an article on CCTV.com, China Central Television, the na- Every month, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) issues a
Hutton Report and with it, an investigation into the British government’s Korea Radio in the South, Kim Jong Il would routinely give away hi-tech tion’s largest and most popular television network, plans to air a 20-part report on business performance in ASEAN countries Thailand, Malaysia,
use of pre-war intelligence in Iraq. A more poignant example of the power prizes to winners of state sponsored sporting events, but that three months series called Yangsong (Eyes on Japan), which will focus on Japanese Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines, from the perspective of Japa-
of radio broadcasting is the integral role played by Radio Free Europe, Ra- ago, winners received live chickens instead. lifestyle, history, economics and politics. According to the website, Japa- nese investors. The report – based on a ratio of positive to negative factors
dio Liberty and the BBC World Service in arousing the dissent that forced nese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie, former Japanese Prime called a diffusion index (DI) – is designed to quantify the performance of
the collapse of communism in Europe. So popular were these services that Only thanks to hunger relief and world food programs can the population Minister Tomiichi Murayama, famous author Junichi Watanabe and actor the respective economy and monitor business trends ripe for investment.
many newly democratic governments at the time requested they stay on-air in the North keep mass starvation at bay. Add to this an educational system Ken Takakura will be interviewed for the inaugural season. As a lead-up According to a recent article in the Bangkok Post, JETRO Bangkok presi-
even after their raison d’etre had long passed. bent on political indoctrination and a complete rejection of the fundamen- to production, China has plans to send its largest-ever contingent of jour- dent Yoichi Kato cites political instability, baht appreciation and rising oil,
tals of basic market economics, and the result is a recipe for disaster. While nalists to Japan for 20 days of interviews, fact-finding and prescreening. interest and inflation rates as justifications for Thailand’s receiving the
The proven success of radio-based campaigns is one reason Seoul con- a survey by the Korean Institute of Criminal Justice Policy and Cheongju Keiji Ide, a minister in the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, “hopes the project lowest grade in each of the last three months. Japanese parent companies
tinues giving aid and refrains from outwardly aggravating Kim Jong Il, University found that while only 0.5% of South Koreans had been targeted will contribute to Japan’s efforts to boost China-Japan ties.” might even be inclined to relocate offshore investments from Thailand, es-
even in the face of nuclear proliferation and dreadful human rights abuses. and cheated of financial assets, this figure jumps to 21.5% for northern pecially if the Thai baht continues to drop against the dollar. The article is
Unfortunately, South Korea’s actions are neither international altruism nor defectors over the same period. It would seem the only people in the South quick to point out however, “the index is unlikely to cause Japanese deci-
simple appeasement. If the Northern population overthrows its rulers and who may reap any financial benefits from unification are con artists. Analysis: “An important breakthrough.” “A realignment of thinking.” “A sion-makers to immediately withdraw their investments in Thailand since
Korea is reunited, the South will have lost its principal military threat but new era in relations.” Headlines like these permeate current media stories they are part of the business plans drawn two or three years earlier.”
gained a huge economic burden. Although the German economy was badly Without a doubt, maintaining the status quo means war is a possibility for about the future of Japan-China relations. Despite the mutual admiration
affected after its reunification in 1990, that economic struggle would pale the South. However, if the 38th parallel disappears, economic disintegra- society growing between the Asian giants, both seem to be ignoring the Analysis: Since the beginning of the Koizumi administration, Japan has
in comparison to the potential downturn taken by the South Korean econ- tion for Korea is definite. Many Korean families dream of being able to proverbial elephant in the room: Japan’s fundamental foreign policy is invested billions of yen in the development of basic infrastructure in Thai-
omy. Neither, it would seem, do the citizens of the South feel particularly freely visit relatives on the other side of the heavily fortified border and structured around building democracy and respecting human rights, Chi- land, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Although foreign aid will continue,
charitable towards their poverty stricken cousins in the North. In a National while for them blood is thicker than water, for nations, cash flow is thicker na’s is decidedly not. Besides, Prime Minister Abe still has yet to go on look for already-conservative JETRO investments to decrease unless Thai-
Assembly poll in 2005, 45% of voters said they would refuse to pay even than both. record about a certain controversial shrine in Tokyo. land’s lucrative tourist industry can rebound from recent political unrest.

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