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North Korea Threatens Japan

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After all the speculation over what happened to Kim Jong Il with his photo being removed from a lot of places there hasn't been a lot of word out of North Korea. Now North Korea has threatened to declare war on Japan if they implement sanctions against them. The Japanese are outraged over a recent act of deception by the DPRK of returning bones of what they said were Japanese citizens kidnapped by the DPRK. It turned out to be a hoax and the Japanese public was not amused.

North Korea warned Japan on Wednesday that it would treat economic sanctions as a "declaration of war" and threatened to try to exclude Tokyo from six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear arms programs.

Calls are growing from the Japanese public and politicians for the government to impose sanctions on North Korea after Tokyo said bones Pyongyang had identified as those of Japanese it had kidnapped were from other people.

"If sanctions are applied against the DPRK (North Korea) due to the moves of the ultra-right forces (in Japan), we will regard it as a declaration of war against our country and promptly react to the action by an effective physical method," a spokesman for North Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, monitored in Tokyo.

North Korea handed over the bones at talks in Pyongyang in November, saying they were the remains of Megumi Yokota and Kaoru Matsuki, two of 13 Japanese who Pyongyang has admitted abducting in the 1970s and 1980s to teach its spies about Japan.

There's no secret that Japan and North Korea hate each other. That's a given. Why North Korea would play such a dangerous game in these very delicate times is beyond me, but it is just further proof that they don't realize the position they are truly in and that they also do not understand the global position worldwide.

The Australian

Powerful interests in Japan's governing Liberal Democratic Party and the Diet are pressuring Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to freeze trade and aid in retaliation for North Korea's latest breach of trust in the "abductees" affair.


One of 13 people the North Koreans admit to abducting, Ms Yokota was 13 when she was taken from Niigata province in 1977. Pyongyang claims she grew to adulthood and married a local, but later died.

Last month North Korea returned several photos of Ms Yokota and a box of ashes they said were hers. Japanese scientists provoked a furious reaction when they reported DNA tests showed the remains were of two people, but neither was Ms Yokota.

In retaliation, the Japanese Government is likely to cancel a 125,000-tonne shipment of food and medical aid to North Korea – the second half of a consignment Mr Koizumi promised in June – but has so far resisted calls to impose economic sanctions.

Japan is North Korea's third-biggest trading partner, behind China and the South. Last year exports to Japan earned the North Koreans Y20.1 billion ($250million) of badly needed hard currency. But Mr Koizumi is under pressure, including from former party secretary general and his favoured successor Shinzo Abe. Mr Abe said yesterday it was "meaningless" to continue negotiating with North Korea.

Tipped by: The Command Post

Other Commentary:

Captain's Quarters has a lot more to say on this. Go have a read.

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Posted by Digger on December 17, 2004 12:41 PM (Permalink)

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This is yet another reason why Japan has stood side-by-side with the U.S. in Iraq. Watch this scenario closely. Japan is not a nation that bows down to threats and will likely impose sanctions because they were threatened not to.

Posted by: Chad Evans on December 17, 2004 02:39 PM

Oh an by the way, your poll is a shame. How Kiran Chetry is not blowing away the competition proves this.

Posted by: Chad Evans on December 17, 2004 02:41 PM

Yeah, I lived two years in Japan. They have been "shamed" by this hoax. That's almost unforgivable in their culture.

I also don't know why Kiran is not blowing them away. She even has a pretty active Yahoo group.

Funny you mentioned both since Kiran is a brand of beer in Japan.

Posted by: Digger on December 17, 2004 03:02 PM

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