The morning edition of the Asahi Shimbun on May 15th reported that, “The international investigation team is about to announce that the South Korean warship was ‘sunk by a torpedo’” on the front page. The situation is “The South Korean warship ‘Cheonan’ navigating around NLL (Northern Limit Line) in the west side of the Korean Peninsula felt a strong impact on the night of March 26th ,was split in two and sank. 46 of the 104 crewmembers aboard are dead or missing. South Korean president Lee Myung-bak entrusted finding out the cause to a military and civilian joint investigation team consisting of 4 countries including the U.S. and England, in order to have the result be more neutral and accepted by the international community.” Despite the suspicion of North Korea’s involvement, the reaction of South Korea to this incident was strangely calm ? based on the content of the article, “President Lee plans to publish an informal opinion a few days later with the findings” and “Though the South Korean government tends to regard the incident as a North Korean attack, we will carefully judge whether to declare their involvement in the announcement.”
In the article, “The investigation team consisting of England, the U.S., Australia, and Sweden jointly determined that the cause of the ship sinking was an outside explosion, under water – based on the cross-sectional shape of the salvaged warship. Furthermore, by analyzing the collected aluminum pieces and deposits of the high-explosive ‘RDX’, they concluded that the attack was by torpedo, not a sea mine. Some diplomats stated that South Korean administration officials ‘consider this to have been perpetrated by North Korea’ based on the circumstance, though they did not find any critical proof identifying the torpedo as being North Korean. If they politically conclude it was a ‘North Korea’s act’ even without decisive evidence, South Korea will seek a deliberation in the UN Security Council.”
North Korea has conducted plenty of terrorist operations before. For instance, the “Failed attempt to attack the Blue House” occurred in January of 1968. It was the case that 31 North Korean soldiers tried to sneak into the Blue House, the Executive Office of the President, disguised in the uniform of the South Korean military in order to assassinate the president Park Chung-hee, but were detected at the last moment and almost all of them were wiped out along with 68 South Korean innocent victims the survivors were arrested. In August of 1974, a South Korean resident in Japan, Moon Se-kwang, under orders from North Korea, sniped at President Park Chung-hee during a ceremony in celebration of Liberation Day and gunned down 2 people including his wife ? however, the president escaped unharmed (the Moon Se-kwang case). In October of 1983, the “Rangoon Incident” occurred in which the South Korean president at that time, Chun Doo Hwan, was targeted. 3 North Korean soldiers set a bomb at Aung San Temple in Rangoon, Burma and tried to assassinate the president but they mistook the Korean ambassador for him, and prematurely detonated the bomb, killing 21 Burmese dignitaries. President Chun was unharmed. Of the three perpetrators, one was shot to death and two were captured and confessed the crime and it became clear that North Korea had orchestrated the crime.
“The bombing of a KAL airliner” which was conducted to hamper South Korea from holding the Olympic Games, is the most memorable incident for Japanese people. Two North Korean agents Kim Hyun Hee and Kim Sun-il set a bomb on the KAL airliner heading to Seoul from Abu Dhabi and the crash resulted in the death of 105 crew members and passengers. The incident was extensively covered in Japan due to the fact that the two offenders possessed false Japanese passports and the so-called “Lee Un-Hae” who taught things Japanese to Kim Hyun Hee was allegedly one of the abduction victims of Japan taken by North Korea. Such international terrorist acts took place when North Korea faced some kind of difficulty. These acts of terrorism were for distracting the eyes of the international community from the problems of North Korea and for strengthening the tension from external sources on the country as well as for increasing regulation inside. The attack on the South Korean warship this year, 23 years after the bombing of the KAL airliner, can be regarded as a military involved “attack”, not just North Korean agents’ terrorism, when considering the use of a torpedo. Possessing nuclear arms, North Korea probably judged that there could hardly be any counterattack. However, it seems that the North Korean government is about to break down, taking account of their crudeness. Kim Jong Il visited China even under the aftereffect of a cerebral infarction early in May, prior to it being declared that the torpedo attack was conducted by North Korea. It was definitely for asking for the support of China, stressing the risk of maintaining their regime while disclaiming their involvement in the attack, before being blamed by the international community due to any critical evidence. The sanction against nuclear experiments from other countries finally produced the intended effect of making North Korea being on the threshold of breakdown and the subsequent expected aggressive outbursts. South Korea will fall victim to the breakdown and attacks directly. The wreck should be considered as a North Korean “threat” signaling that, “without aid, these kind of aggressive acts will happen!”
Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, it would not be an overstatement to say that the situation in East Asia has an increased sense of tension, when compared with the time of the Cold War. “Spoiling” North Korea was pretty much the reason. Whenever North Korean “adventurism” caused trouble, the neighboring countries solved the issue peacefully and even sometimes strengthened their support. As a result, North Korea carried out nuclear tests. Once South Korea overlooks such violence as the attack on the warship, it is clear that North Korea will be puffed up and conduct second and third incidents. The target for this time was South Korea, but Japan could be the next one. In case this concern comes true, it is awful to even imagine how Prime Minister Hatoyama, always putting on a certain face for eliciting sympathy from people, will not be scorched again. To prevent this kind of situation again, South Korea needs to make a “limited” missile strike of retaliation against the anchorage site of the North Korean small submarines, mother ship, and naval base in Huang Hai – with advance notice – before North Korea finishes miniaturization of nuclear weapons enabling them to load them on to missiles.
The relocation issue of the Futenma Air Base in Okinawa keeps vacillating. While visiting Okinawa in May, Prime Minister Hatoyama revealed his ignorance by saying “I did not believe that the US marine force needs to be present in Okinawa as a deterrent.” at that time of the Lower House election last year. “However, the more I learn, the more I understand how the Marines maintain a deterrent in cooperation with each unit.”, according to the Sankei Shimbun on May 4th. How could he, a Prime Minister and a politician serving as many as 8 terms as a Lower House member, say such a thing even though he was in the opposition party for a long time? Such a person should not be Prime Minister! And the relocation of Futenma Air Base offshore on Henoko is an agreement between Japan and the U.S. after long negotiation. It cannot be violated even if the administration changes. Revoking the promise saying “(The base should be) out of the prefecture if possible, and out of the area at least.” with a big mouth is worthy of his death.
What type of troops are the Marines which are being focused on in the relocation issue? The Marines are America’s forth military force independent from Army, Navy, and Air Force. Their most important role is as a rapid-response team. That’s why they have all the functions of the Army, Navy, and Air Force and have all the equipment of each, such as tanks, landing craft, helicopters, jets, and VTOL developed by England. They set up a base closest to a region where conflict could occur in preparation for “rapid-response.” Therefore, it is not feasible to move them to anywhere in Japan or Guam from Futenma. On the other hand, the media only covers the risk of accidents such as aircraft crashes and scandals of the marines against local residents including sexual assault and car accidents. If Japan possessed its own striking power and had a deterrent force without relying on the Japan-U.S. alliance, the U.S. forces are needless for sure. However, it is self-defense that the Japan Self-Defense Force is allowed to do under Article 9 of the Constitution. Relying on the U.S. forces for deterrence is the division of roles in the current Japan-U.S. Security Agreements. It is totally wrong to denounce the base only because of those accidents and scandals, without understanding the true reason of why the Marines exist in Okinawa. Okinawa’s left-leaning media including the Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo obviously intensify the anti-base feelings.
Yutaka Takabana, chairman of Teikei Inc. and also one of my friends, kept pointing out the dreadful gap between the number of participants in the host of the “residents’ assembly” in Okinawa which was announced to the public through the media, and the count that he actually tallied from an arial photo of the event. For example, although the Asahi Shimbun reported the number of those gathered was 110,000 – as the host of congregation opposing the opinion on textbook screening in Ginowan – in September, 2007, it was only 18,000; one-sixth of the reported amount, based on Teikei’s research. Also, in the anti-base assembly in Futenma held on April 25th this year, it was announced that 90,000 residents joined the event, and various media reported the number – without checking. Although I saw the pictures and movies of the event, there were not so many people by any stretch of the imagination. I believe twenty to thirty thousand were there at most. Teikei sent me a report with a picture he used for counting the people in attendance, and the number ofparticipants was only 11,569 (excluding those in tents and under trees). It was only one-eighth of the amount compared with the number reported. It is unbelieveable that such exaggerated numbers go unnoticed and unmentioned. The false number was covered by the media whereas the real number, which had been precisely counted, was totally ignored by them. Aren’t media reports just extraordinary?! And the media itself does not notice how “abnormal” they are.The burden of the local residents is not the sum total of what the American military base means for the area. Once the base is removed, there will be a severe effect on Okinawa’s economy. There are people in Tokunoshima who welcome the base for having revived their economy, and it is only the residents in opposition that are remarkable. Even in Okinawa, there are quite a few residents who look forward to the economic benefits of the tax-free military land lease fees, several indemnities, and employment on the base, contrary to their stated view. In fact, there has already been economic assistances to the Henoko area, the potential location of the relocation. One should understand this issue not one-sidedly, but multilaterally.
The Hatoyama Cabinet’s approval rating kept falling and finally fell below the 20 percent mark. Depending on the source, public support for the DPJ fell below the LDP. It is inevitable for the DPJ to lose their seats completely, hardly able to reach a majority, when they rush into an election now. If that happens, the Prime Minister, Hatoyama and the Secretary General, Ozawa will certainly need to resign their positions. At the same time, Ozawa will be forced to be indicted if the Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution concludes he should – for the second time – even if the prosecution drops the case again. In order to preserve their influence, those two (Hatoyama and Ozawa) will probably resign prior to the election, warm up the presidential race in the DPJ, elect someone who is neither pro-Ozawa nor anti-Ozawa as the party head and challenge the Upper House election. Then, Ichiro Ozawa will be pulling the strings behind the scenes based on his influence on the so-called Ozawa Children and Girls.
The above, is the scenario I wrote in last month’s issue. However, they are plunging into the election without changing their structure despite their approval rating showing no sign of recovering, due to fears once he resigns, of indictment for tax evasion against Ozawa based on tax inspections. We could get glimpses of their intention of aligning with the Komeito instead of the Social Democratic Party and the People’s New Party in case the DPJ loses in the election. I frequently hear that Ozawa backs Finance Minister Naoto Kan, as a post-Hatoyama candidate in the DPJ’s presidential race after the Upper House election; however, the general public do not have a good impression of him because of a commercial message where he supported Ozawa, which caused a storm with Hatoyama. Ozawa’s cloister government leaves anxiety for Japan’s future even if a new leader appears.
I hope that a party of genuine conservatism will make great strides in the upcoming election. I can only believe that the Spirit of Japan party led by Hiroshi Yamada, mayor of Suginami Ward, could resonate with the ideology even though many new partys were established this year. Yamada recites the suicide notes of the “special attack corps” in the coming-of-age ceremony every year adding his words, “They sacrificed their lives for protecting Japan and creating a new Japan. Being able to make a toast in a beautiful kimono is owing to them as well. It is your duty to live for them.” I would also like to count on Takeo Hiranuma’s Sunrise Party of Japan, which includes the elder statesmen who played a focal role in forming national policy in the past and made the LDP come and go in the background. A new party being premised on “Aiming at rebuilding a proud country, … Japan” has yet to be established. I, however, strongly hope persons claiming genuine conservatism fight well, gain a certain amount of power in the coming election and become the eye of political realignment.
Japan cut its military expenditure after the end of the Cold War, whereas neighboring China has showed double-digit growth in military expenditure every year since 1989. North Korea’s torpedo attack on the South Korean warship was definitely a reckless deed and an act of war, bolstered by confidence stemming from possessing nuclear arms. No one knows when Japan will fall victim to the same type of act. It is the height of stupidity to relocate the Marines who have the ability of rapid response to Kyushu or Guam from Okinawa under the current circumstances. I cannot stand for the risk that Japan’s national security is being exposed to from Hatoyama’s word game ad captandum supported by stupid brains. This North Korean crazy act, was due to the past compromises of the surrounding countries. The factor most responsible, was South Korea’s Sunshine Policy, which puffed up North Korea for 10 years, directed by both president Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun. The current Lee regime should make a retaliatory strike against North Korea – with advance notice – to make a clear and decisive break with the past. Without this attack, South Korea will be forced to retreat little by little, be exploited, and eventually the situation will turn into an all-out war. The need for this attack is not only for South Korea, but also for the sake of Japan. Taking this opportunity, Japan should establish a strong administration and possesses enough military power to keep our independence by our own hands. Based on the thought, I published a book, “A Theory of the State ‘No One Can Point Out’” this month. I honestly want as many people as possible read through it.