Saturday, December 25, 2004

Nuclear Threats Against North Korea. "The US did the same" according to Bruce Cumings!

Nuclear Threats Against North Korea Consequences of the
'forgotten' war, by Bruce Cumings; Le Monde Diplomatique.

The media claim that North Korea is trying to obtain and
use weapons of mass destruction. Yet the United States,
which opposes this strategy, has used or threatened to
use such weapons in northeast Asia since the 1940s, when
it did drop atomic bombs on Japan.

THE forgotten war -- the Korean war of 1950-53 -- might
better be called the unknown war. What was indelible
about it was the extraordinary destructiveness of the
United States' air campaigns against North Korea, from
the widespread and continuous use of firebombing (mainly
with napalm), to threats to use nuclear and chemical
weapons (1), and the destruction of huge North Korean
dams in the final stages of the war. Yet this episode is
mostly unknown even to historians, let alone to the
average citizen, and it has never been mentioned during
the past decade of media analysis of the North Korean
nuclear problem.

Korea is also assumed to have been a limited war, but
its prosecution bore a strong resemblance to the air war
against Imperial Japan in the second world war, and was
often directed by the same US military leaders. The
atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been
examined from many different perspectives, yet the
incendiary air attacks against Japanese and Korean
cities have received much less attention. The US
post-Korean war air power and nuclear strategy in
northeast Asia are even less well understood; yet these
have dramatically shaped North Korean choices and remain
a key factor in its national security strategy.

Napalm was invented at the end of the second world war.
It became a major issue during the Vietnam war, brought
to prominence by horrific photos of injured civilians.
Yet far more napalm was dropped on Korea and with much
more devastating effect, since the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea (DPRK) had many more populous cities
and urban industrial installations than North Vietnam.
In 2003 I participated in a conference with US veterans
of the Korean war. During a discussion about napalm, a
survivor who lost an eye in the Changjin (in Japanese,
Chosin) Reservoir battle said it was indeed a nasty
weapon -- but "it fell on the right people." (Ah yes,
the "right people" -- a friendly-fire drop on a dozen US
soldiers.) He continued: "Men all around me were burned.
They lay rolling in the snow. Men I knew, marched and
fought with begged me to shoot them . . . It was
terrible. Where the napalm had burned the skin to a
crisp, it would be peeled back from the face, arms, legs
. . . like fried potato chips."

[Click the title to read the article]

Japan tougher tone on North Korea

Japan threatened retaliation against North Korea such as
cutting off economic ties unless the communist state
returned Japanese people it has kidnapped or gave a
"sincere response" on their fate.

Japan said it would send a "strong protest" to North
Korea accusing it of handing over false evidence to
prove the deaths of eight Japanese people it abducted
during the Cold War.

"We will have to take a serious response this time if
North Korea does not sincerely respond," said Chief
Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda, the Japanese
government spokesman.

"We strongly demand that North Korea immediately send
home the survivors. The Japanese government demands the
sincere response of North Korea."

A recent poll found that nearly two-thirds of Japanese
people want economic sanctions against North Korea,
despite warnings by the communist state that it would
consider the move an act of war.

Japan has already suspended food aid to North Korea.

Koizumi has previously indicated that sanctions -- which
could take the form of banning remittances by North
Koreans in Japan or barring Pyongyang's ships from
docking at Japanese ports -- would be a last resort.

In a sign that he still favors a cautious approach,
Koizumi declined to set a deadline for North Korea to
respond to the protest, which will be submitted through
diplomats in Beijing.

"We are not thinking about it at present," Koizumi said
of imposing a deadline.

Hosoda, asked whether Japan was presenting North Korea
with an ultimatum, said: "I don't see it that way."

The United States, South Korea (news - web sites) and
China have all warned Japan to be careful with North
Korea amid moves to bring the cash-strapped but heavily
armed country back into six-nation talks on ending its
nuclear program.

In line with world concerns, North Korea threatened to
boycott the nuclear talks unless Japan is excluded from
the negotiating table.

"It has become difficult for (the North) to sit down
with Japan at the six-way talks as Japan acts without
faith and morality," the North's Central Television
Broadcasting Station said late Thursday, in a report
monitored by South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

North Korea, which fired a missile over Japan in 1998,
has admitted kidnapping 13 Japanese people to train the
regime's spies in Japanese language and culture.

North Korea has released five and, to Japan's
skepticism, says eight others are dead.

The most famous victim is Megumi Yokota, who was a
13-year-old girl returning home from school when she was
whisked away in 1977.

North Korea said Yokota killed herself out of depression
and last month gave a visiting Japanese delegation human
remains purported to prove it, along with evidence said
to show seven other kidnap victims were dead.

When Japan said the ashes' DNA did not match Yokota's,
North Korea accused Tokyo of "cooking up" evidence and
asked for the remains back, saying the Japanese woman's
North Korean husband wanted them.

Yokota's father Shigeru Yokota called Friday for a
tougher approach by the government.

"We want the government to set an early deadline for
North Korea's response," he told reporters.

Kayoko Arimoto, whose daughter Keiko Arimoto was
kidnapped in 1983 by North Korean agents in Copenhagen,
said North Korea's false evidence was "so ridiculous I
can't find words to express it."

"None of the negotiations and discussions have resulted
in any progress," she said.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Japan's Emperor says He was shocked by his Son's rebuke of palace officials

Japanese Emperor Akihito Thursday weighed in on a
months-long controversy surrounding his
daughter-in-law's stress-related illness, saying he was
shocked by his son's accusations earlier this year that
palace officials were to blame.

In an imperial statement released to mark his 71st
birthday, the emperor said his son's imprudent remarks
had "caused a flurry of discussions including
speculations not based on fact ..."

The controversy _ sparked by Crown Prince Naruhito's
criticism of the officials in May _ has led to
speculation of a rift in the family. At the time,
Naruhito said his wife's handlers were trying to "deny
her character."

His comments garnered public sympathy for Masako, who
since last December has withdrawn from official duties
due to depression attributed to the pressures of palace

However, Naruhito's younger brother, Prince Akishino,
publicly rebuked his elder sibling for the statements,
saying the crown prince should have consulted his father
before accusing palace officials.

Educated at Harvard, Oxford and Japan's prestigious
Tokyo University, Masako gave up a career in Japan's
Foreign Ministry and married Naruhito in 1993.

Before falling ill, she complained of hardly being
allowed to travel abroad. Critics have suggested palace
officials were reluctant to let Masako, 41, travel until
she produces a male heir.

Masako and Naruhito have one daughter, 3-year-old
Princess Aiko.

In July, the Imperial Household Agency said Masako was
suffering from an adaptive disorder and was being
treated through counseling and medication. She has
largely stayed out of the public eye since last

Akihito said he has talked with his son several times
about his remarks and learned that Masako was facing "a
number of problems," but he added: "There are still some
things that I have not fully understood yet."

"I sincerely hope that in frankly conveying the hopes
that they now have, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess
will be able to move towards the realization of those
hopes and that this will bring them stability and
brightness in their life together."

Under Japan's postwar constitution, the royal family has
no official political power but plays an important
symbolic role in society.

The emperor's birthday, a national holiday, is only one
of two days during the year when the public is allowed
behind the palace walls. On Thursday, hundreds of well
wishers cheered Akihito as he waved at them on the
balcony, accompanied by his family, including Naruhito.
Masako was absent, however. Kyodo.

Japan USA military cooperation to be reinforced in 2005

A Japan-U.S. security statement to be released next year
will single out China and North Korea as sources of
instability and provide for closer military cooperation
between Tokyo and Washington against threats in the
Asia-Pacific region, a Japanese newspaper said on

The report by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper
coincides with growing concern in Japan about China's
military build-up and North Korea's missile and nuclear
programmes.Designating China as a potential threat would
anger Beijing, already upset over a similar statement in
a sweeping review of Japan's defence policy this month.

Calls have emerged in Japan to revise the 1960
U.S.-Japan Security Treaty -- the pillar of Tokyo's
post-World War Two defence policy -- to accommodate U.S.
requests for Japan to host a U.S. Army command covering
the Pacific Rim as part of Washington's realignment of
its forces around the globe. Revising the treaty would
be politically difficult given lingering pacifism and
opposition to the tightening of U.S.-Japan security ties
since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Most Japanese voters opposed Japan's deployment of
troops on a reconstruction mission in Iraq, its riskiest
military venture since 1945. The Nihon Keizai newspaper
said the two allies would not revise the bilateral
security treaty, which limits the role of U.S. troops
based in Japan to the Far East. Instead, they would
outline in a statement how Japan and the United States
would cope with threats such as terrorism, North Korea
and tensions between Taiwan and China, it said.

A Japanese military source said drafting the document
was likely to take several months. "We have to discuss
common strategic objectives, roles and missions, and the
U.S. military posture in this region and Japan in the
future," he said. Whether and how China would be
mentioned remained to be seen, but the source added: "We
have to discuss how to address common strategic
objectives, how we see the international environment.

We should discuss each issue, such as the Korean
peninsula, the Taiwan Strait, southeast Asia and the
global war on terrorism." In a revamped defence policy
this month, Japan mentioned China's military build-up as
a cause for concern along with the potential threat from
North Korea. Beijing denounced that designation as
"groundless and extremely irresponsible". Sino-Japanese
ties have grown frosty of late, most recently because of
Japan's decision to issue a visa to former Taiwan
President Lee Teng-hui to visit as a tourist. Beijing,
which sees self-ruled, democratic Taiwan as a renegade
Chinese province, has protested and urged Japan not to
let in the 81-year-old Lee, an outspoken advocate of
independence for Taiwan.

China, where bitter memories of Japan's past militarism
run deep, is also annoyed over Japanese Prime Minister
Junichiro Koizumi's annual visits to Yasukuni shrine,
where World War Two war criminals are honoured along
with Japan's other war dead.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Japan arms exports: used warships to Singapore, Malaysia

The government plans to sell decommissioned
Maritime Self-Defense Force and Japan Coast Guard
vessels to Singapore and Malaysia for use in combating
pirates and maritime terrorism in what would be an
exception to the national policy of not exporting arms,
the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Wednesday.

Japan will announce the exception to the policy to
Singapore and Malaysia in January, the newspaper said.

Under consideration for sale are vessels in the range of
1,000- and 2,000-ton class owned by the MSDF as well as
Coast Guard patrol boats, it said. When delivered, they
will be stripped of canons and other heavy weapons
systems that are not required for fighting pirates.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Post-Helsinki: Turkey, Greece and the European Union

Post-Helsinki: Turkey, Greece and the European Union

Philip H. Gordon, Director, the Center on the United
States and France, and Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy

The European Union's December 1999 decision to accord
Turkey the status of official "candidate" was a historic
turning point that will have long-term benefits for the
entire eastern Mediterranean region.

The Helsinki outcome reinforces Turkey's European
orientation; provides a strong incentive for Ankara to
pursue its ongoing economic, political, and human rights
reform; bolsters Greece-Turkey relations; and eliminates
much of the deep resentment that many Turks felt toward
the EU following the December 1997 Luxembourg summit's
rejection of Turkey's candidacy.

The EU decision at Helsinki was the product of a number
of different factors. These included the 1998 election
of a Social Democratic government in Germany, replacing
the Christian Democratic regime that wanted to keep
Turkey at arm's length; the Kosovo conflict, which
demonstrated Turkey's role in European security and its
ability to cooperate with Greece; American pressure,
which was a persistent thorn in Europeans' side until
removed at Helsinki; and the policies of the Turkish
government led by Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, elected
in April 1999, which had already begun to implement a
range of important reforms.

No factor, however, was more important than the new
approach taken by the Greek government, spearheaded by
Foreign Minister George Papandreou. Papandreou's new
approach—based on the realization that a Europeanizing
Turkey was in Greece's own national interest—has not
only helped to improve Turkey's relationship with the
EU, but it has already begun to bring about improvements
in Greece-Turkey relations that would have seemed
impossible only a few years ago.

Some have argued that the EU's Helsinki decision was a
mistake that will only encourage Turkey to maintain
illusions about an EU membership that it will never, in
fact, attain. According to this logic, the EU should
have been frank with Turkey and made it clear that the
bloc will never include a large Muslim country, most of
whose territory lies beyond what is traditionally
considered to be Europe.

It will be many years before Turkey is ready for actual
accession. But refusing it even the prospect of eventual
membership—no matter how the country evolves in the
coming years—would have been a great mistake. Not only
would such a decision have sent Turkey-EU and
Turkey-Greece relations into a new tailspin, but it also
would have taken away one of Turkey's most powerful
incentives to pursue the types of policies and reforms
that Europeans claim to want to see.

Europe's postwar history is full of examples of
countries undertaking major reforms in the name of
Europe that they would not otherwise have
undertaken—Greece's recent fiscal discipline as a path
to joining Europe's Economic and Monetary Union is a
relevant example—and there is no reason this external
stimulus will not affect Turkey as well.

Indeed, evidence of this effect is already becoming
apparent. Since Helsinki, Turkish leaders have openly
discussed the possibility of allowing Kurdish-language
broadcasts and education, a longstanding European
demand; postponed implementation of the death sentence
of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan
in order to allow an appeal to be considered by the
European Court of Human Rights; talked about abolishing
the death penalty altogether; encouraged the
continuation of the first Cyprus talks to be held for
more than two years; made real efforts to improve their
human rights record; and moved forward with the
far-reaching economic reform program launched last

Not all of these things can be attributed to Turkey's
desire to join the EU, but there is no doubt that the
positive atmosphere at Helsinki and renewed hope for
eventual membership has inspired Turkey to stick to this

Even more important has been the great improvement in
Greece-Turkey relations that certainly would not be
continuing had Greece and its fellow EU members made a
different choice at Helsinki. Indeed, the evolution of
Greece-Turkey relations over the past few months has
been remarkable, including the first visit by a Greek
foreign minister, Papandreou, to Turkey in 38 years;
bilateral agreements on trade and investment, organized
crime, illegal immigration, tourism, and the
environment; and the possibility that Greek and Turkish
forces will conduct exercises together in Greek
territory as part of NATO's Dynamic Mix military

Many of the bilateral agreements are substantively
significant, not least because of the great potential
for an increase in Greek-Turkish trade from its
currently low level of less than $1 billion per year.
But even more important is their demonstration of the
two countries' common interests. As Hikmet Cetin, a
former Turkish foreign minister has put it, "People in
Turkey, Greece and Cyprus now see that the two
governments can deal with each other in a positive way."

None of this is to say that Turkey's candidacy status
has somehow resolved all of Turkey's or the region's
problems, or that positive Turkey-EU relations are now
guaranteed. Turkey has a lot of hard work to do—on human
rights, on economic development, in resolving problems
with Greece, and in reducing the military's role in
government—before it will be in a position to meet the
EU's tough membership conditions.

In this sense, Prime Minister Ecevit's talk after
Helsinki of possibly joining the European Union in 2004
seems excessively optimistic. Turkish leaders, with
encouragement from the EU and the United States, would
do well to start managing expectations so that another
disappointment does not set Turkey-EU relations back
again. Hopefully, Turkey's December decision to, in
effect, declare victory and accept the EU's offer of
candidacy, despite what might have been seen as
conditions attached to it on Cyprus and the Aegean, was
a sign that Turkey is realistic about what must happen
before it can actually join the EU.

Where external relations are concerned, the greatest
obstacles to continued Turkey-EU rapprochement remain
Cyprus and the Aegean. Anyone who has followed these
issues over the years knows how difficult they will be
to resolve. But they should also know that, as long as
Turkey feels ostracized by Europe and has a hostile
relationship with Greece, these problems will never be
resolved, and there will remain an unhealthy gap between
Turkey and Europe.

Turkey is a big, proud country with a growing economy,
and it has always been unlikely to compromise on these
issues through outside pressure alone. A far better
approach is one that allows Turks and Greeks to see
their overwhelming common interest in cooperating on a
wide range of problems. Once this new attitude prevails
among Turks, Greeks and Europeans, even the hardest
bilateral problems will come to be seen in a new light,
and solutions may finally become possible.

That new mood, and the incentive that possible EU
membership provides for Turkey to make difficult
domestic changes, offer the possibility of dramatically
transforming Turkey-EU relations, and, with them, the
prospects for peace and prosperity in the entire eastern
Mediterranean region.

The Strategic Regional Report, February 2000

Japan: "Single women in their 30s redefining societal roles", a local daily writes

Three terms have become popular this year for describing
women--makeinu (whipped dog), onibaba (ogre-like older
women) and sonatian, referring to enthusiastic fans of a
popular South Korean drama.

The phrases have often been misunderstood, sparking
criticism and feelings of solidarity. The situation
reflects the complex feelings of women who waver between
new and traditional values in life, such as finding
happiness in marriage and having children or choosing to
live one's own life in their own way.

Makeinu became a popular term after the book "Makeinu no
Toboe" (Whipped Dog's Howl), written by 38-year-old
Junko Sakai, became popular. Sakai referred to single,
childless women older than 30 as whipped dogs. The word
won a prize for being the most popular word of the year.
Many women respond to being called makeinu cynically,
saying, "I'm a whipped dog, so what?" Such an attitude
won empathy among women of the same generation.

Tsuda College Prof. Chizuru Misago, 46, an
epidemiologist who recently published a book titled
"Onibabaka Suru Onnatachi" (Women Who Turn Into Ogres)
in which she describes women as the ogres of traditional
folk tales. Misago warned, "Women store inborn energy
for sex and reproduction, eroding various parts of their

Sonatian refers to Bae Yong Joon's fanatical fans who
obsess over him in the South Korean soap opera "Fuyu no
Sonata" (Winter Sonata), which has aired on NHK since
April. The soap opera has been credited with creating a
hanryu (Korean culture) boom. Tours to its filming sites
in South Korea have become very popular among
middle-aged and older women. Some estimate the economic
effect of the show has reached about 230 billion yen.

"I couldn't decide whether to get married in my early
30s or not. I've reached 35 this year, and I don't have
a boyfriend," said a Tokyo office worker.

She holds down a good job and lives with her parents.
Her 61-year-old mother cleans the house and does the
laundry. Although her parents get along well, she said
her 64-year-old father keeps saying that he is very busy
with his work as an excuse for not spending time with
her mother.

So, occasionally the office worker travels overseas with
her mother on vacation. Last month they visited spots
featured in "Fuyu no Sonata" on a four-day tour. Her
mother was the first of the two to become infatuated
with "Fuyu no Sonata."

"I'm a typical makeinu. My mother has turned herself
completely into a sonatian," the office worker said and

The number of single women in their 30s is increasing.
According to the 2000 census, the number of women in
their early 30s who were unmarried reached 26.6 percent,
while that for women in their late 30s hit 13.8 percent,
rising twofold from the number in the census conducted
in 1990. The rate surges to more than 40 percent among
women in their early 30s who live in urban areas.

Clinical psychotherapist Sayoko Nobuta, 58, head of
Harajuku Counseling Center has been studying the
phenomenon for 10 years.

She has noticed general changes in the daughter-mother
relationships, as mothers who have lived their lives
according to traditional values do not recommend
marriage to their working daughters.

"Mothers have found hope in their daughters, who have
become financially independent, while daughters remember
very well the heavy burden and unhappiness their mothers
experienced when left with all the decision-making at
home by fathers that cared only for their companies.
This is why daughters are working so hard--they are
responding to their mothers' expectations," Nobuta said.

As many mothers reach an age where they can look back on
their lives, which they devoted to their families, they
tend to become obsessed with such dramas as "Fuyu no
Sonata," which emphasizes love rather than family life.

Tokyo University Assistant Prof. Kaori Hayashi, 41,
surveyed about 830 members of the audience at a "Fuyu no
Sonata" concert. She noticed that about half the women
in their 50s and 60s in the audience wrote that they did
not realize that a man could treat a woman so well and
protect them.

"Women of this age group supported corporate warriors.
Although they were supported financially, they were
frustrated by the lack of psychological protection.
Daughters are puzzled to see their mothers become
innocently infatuated with pure love," Nobuta said.

Women are becoming more selective and can choose to get
married or have a child. They live in the age and
society that has greater tolerance for such choices, but
experts have highlighted negative aspects of having such

One such expert is Misago who says makeinu eventually
turn into onibaba, while others criticize her for this
view. (Yomiuri 21 12 2004)

Sunday, December 19, 2004

French Helios-II A, a new generation of military satellites

Helios-II A: EU Ariane rocket successfully placed into
orbit the first in a new generation of French military

Four so-called Essaim (Swarm) microsatellites, a
microsatellite called Parasol and Nanosat, a tiny
Spanish civilian research satellite were also
successfully separated from the rocket, which had
earlier taken off from the European Space Agency's
launchpad in French Guiana.

French defense minister Michele Alliot-Marie hailed the
successful launch, sending her congratulations to the
scientists from Paris, where she watched it live on

Helios II A is designed to have enhanced imaging in the
optical and infrared range and is designed to improve
military intelligence which will be used notably by
France, Belgium and Spain. It has a five year space

The microsatellites are designed by French military
scientists as a testbed for new technologies in
electromagnetic surveillance.

Parasol is a microsatellite designed by French civilian
scientists to study cloud formations and aerosols in the
upper atmosphere, while Nanosat is also designed to
monitor atmospheric changes.