North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test – the first in three years – on January 6, 2016. According to information released by North Korea, the subject of the test was a hydrogen bomb. Perhaps this test was intended as a type of domestic “gun salute” for Kim Jong-un’s birthday on January 8. On January 9, the Agence France-Presse news agency reported that North Korea justified this nuclear test by pointing out the tragic ends of Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, saying these incidents show what happens in countries that abandon their nuclear ambitions.
Kim Jong-un is focused to this degree on nuclear weapons as a way to maintain his system. Former President Jimmy Carter visited North Korea in June 1994 as a special ambassador of President Clinton and obtained an agreement from President Kim Il Sung that North Korea would cease nuclear development. However, his son Kim Jong Il thought the Kim dynasty would not last without nuclear development, so he excluded Kim Il Sung, violated the agreement, ignored repeated pressure from China and other parties, and continued carrying out nuclear development.
Although Jiang Zemin stepped down from his post of president, he wanted to maintain his position as Central Military Commission chairman like Deng Xiaoping. It is thought that he was scheming to remove Kim Jong Il in order to maintain his political power by halting North Korea’s nuclear development and successfully establishing a puppet regime that was friendly to China. The explosion at Ryongchon Station was of a scale to blow up all cars on the train line. It is thought that huge amounts of explosives – 800 tons of TNT, the equivalent of a small atomic bomb – were disguised as sandbags and set underneath the branch line that ran concurrent to the main line and then blown up. It is likely that a large-scale maneuver of this type was carried out by some North Koreans with direction and cooperation from the Chinese Army intelligence department.
One basis for my conjecture is the shape of the hole created by the explosion. The official announcement from North Korea said that freight cars carrying fuel and agricultural chemicals (ammonium nitrate) crashed and ran off the tracks, knocking over utility poles that caused electric cables to short, caught fire, and caused a major explosion. But if this were correct, the explosion would have occurred aboveground and the traces should have been U-shaped. Yet the traces that were posted online right after the incident were V-shaped. This indicates that the explosion took place underground, clearly showing that the official announcement was a lie. Moreover, although photographs of the bombing traces were available online right after the incident, they were deleted in succession afterwards. The U.S. and neighboring countries such as Russia, South Korea, Japan, and China should have accurately grasped what country the explosive materials were made in, and the scale of the explosion, via their analyses including seismic waves, microbarometric oscillation monitoring, and dust floating in the air after the explosion. Despite this, no one pointed out the falseness of the official announcement by North Korea – not only because the Kim Jong Il administration was troublesome, but also because they had a good awareness of the geopolitical importance of North Korea as a buffer zone and judged that it was better not to stir things up. In addition, why wasn’t Kim Jong Il riding in the car that was blown up? I suspect it was because the U.S. (which unceasingly deciphers and monitors all communication codes) or Russia (which has intelligence operatives hidden in the Chinese military) did not want a pro-China puppet regime to be established in North Korea. I think one of these countries intercepted information about the terrorist bombing and shared it with Kim Jong Il. Kim Jong Il was frightened by this Chinese assassination attempt, which involved thousands of citizens that had gathered to welcome him. He stepped up nuclear development as his only plan for survival. In 2006, two years later, North Korea conducted its first nuclear bomb test (although it was inadequate).
North Korea’s nuclear weapons are a means of self-defense against China, followed by a way to show the U.S. that it has equal status and create opportunities to participate in negotiations. This test, which North Korea said was for a hydrogen bomb, involved a small explosion and it is highly probable that it was merely an atomic bomb detonation as a way to create nuclear fusion. So why did North Korea purposely take this decisive action? Kim Jong-un, the current supreme leader, must have frequently heard about the threat of China from his father, Kim Jong Il, who was nearly killed by a bomb. I think he also has a strong awareness of the fact that nuclear weapons are the only way to maintain his system. Hydrogen bombs, which have more than 100 times the power of regular nuclear weapons, provide even stronger protection. North Korea notified China of the hydrogen bomb experiment and sent the Moranbong Band as a response to China’s fierce opposition of the testing. But I suspect the truth is that agreement could not be obtained, so the band was hurriedly returned to North Korea and the written instructions for the test were signed right away.
Looking back at history, victory in battles has been determined more by the quality of weapons than their quantity. The nuclear weapons that appeared during World War II were the source of American hegemony in the postwar era. If the U.S. hadn’t had nuclear weapons, the Soviet Union would certainly have communized the world. In contrast, if the U.S. was the only country that possessed nuclear weapons, a third nuclear bomb may have been dropped on another city after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Thinking this, the American nuclear scientists leaked nuclear development information to the Soviet Union. As a result, the Soviet Union successfully developed atomic weapons in just four years. This rendered nuclear weapons unusable, which is still true today.
There are countless examples in history of victory being determined by who had the superior weapons. Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish conquistador who overthrew the Inca Empire in the 16th century, had just 168 soldiers, one cannon, dozens of guns, and 27 horses. There were no horses on the North or South American continents at that time, and with these armaments the Spanish cavalry was amazingly strong. The Inca lacked iron weapons and fought with implements like copper axes, bows, and arrows. As a result, Pizarro slaughtered 7,000 people in a fight with the 80,000-person Incan army, captured Emperor Atahualpa, and destroyed the Incan Empire. This difference in weapons performance was what gave the Spanish their victory. Afterwards, the Catholic Spanish powers came to dominate South America.
Meanwhile, the Reformation was taking place in Europe and fighting was intensifying between the Catholics and Protestants, such as the French Wars of Religion that included eight wars over a span of nearly 40 years. During the 17th century, the Protestants fled persecution in Europe to the new world of North America, where they established their bases. They used guns to kill massive numbers of Native Americans, who possessed only bows and arrows, and expanded their domain. This was once again a conquest enabled by differences in weapons capabilities.
There is also an example from Japan: the Winter Campaign of the Siege of Osaka, which was fought between the Tokugawa and Toyotomi forces in October 1614. The Toyotomi forces were sheltering in Osaka Castle together with the Catholic missionaries. To capture Osaka Castle – which was thought to be impregnable – Tokugawa Ieyasu purchased artillery from the Protestant countries including England and the Netherlands, among which the culverins from England were particularly effective. These weapons were distinctive for their long range. Compared to the breech-loading swivel guns used by the Toyotomi forces, which had an effective range of 330 to 440 meters, the culverins had an effective range of 1,800 meters and a maximum range of 6,300 meters that made them overwhelmingly superior. Japanese gunsmiths were highly skilled, and Ieyasu had guns made by Shibatsuji Riuemon, a gunsmith from Sakai. These efficient arms had an effective range of 1,000 meters. At that time cannon shells did not contain explosives; they had lead or iron balls that did not burst apart, so they didn’t offer great destructive power in the field. But when facing an enemy confined in a building, the enemy soldiers were killed by fragments of the building as it was destroyed, so these weapons could be used effectively by the side attacking the castle. The Tokugawa forces shot cannonballs at the castle tower where Yodogimi was hiding, causing a sudden panic and forcing the other side into a cease-fire. The power of these culverins was also demonstrated in the naval battle fought at the English Channel between the British fleet and Spanish Armada in 1588. The British fleet, equipped with these weapons, shot at the Spanish from a long range that the Spanish shells could not cover, which is how it won the naval battle. This is another example of how weapon performance decides the course of history.
The Winter Campaign of the Siege of Osaka Castle was a battle between the Tokugawa, which was aided by the Protestant country of England, and Toyotomi, which was backed by the Catholics. Similarly, the Meiji Restoration was a fight between the Shogunate, which was supported by the Catholic powers such as France, and the Satsuma and Choshu loyalist armies, which were backed by Protestant powers like England. In the past religious wars have taken place between the Catholics and Protestants – which are different denominations of Christianity – in Europe, and during the modern era there are disputes between Saudi Arabia (the Sunni sect of Islam) and Iraq (the Shia sect). In this way opposition between monotheist sects has given rise to tragic wars, both today and in the past. Looking at Christianity alone, just like the defeat of the Spanish Armada (a naval battle between England and Spain), the history of Protestants, the new power, winning out over the Catholics, which held power in the past, continues during modern times. Commodore Matthew C. Perry came to Uraga in his Black Ships because he wanted to make Japan into a Christian, Protestant country that was an American colony. However, Japan had a warrior class that esteemed the samurai code of chivalry and was highly educated. Christianity was not spread and the Emperor System, which revered the Shinto religion, continued, so there were no major civil wars stemming from conflict between religious sects. On the deck of the USS Missouri, where the signing ceremony took place for Japan’s capitulation after World War II, the U.S. flag hoisted by Perry on the USS Susquehanna was displayed, which suggests that World War II was also a battle to make Japan into a Protestant country.
The U.S. announced its Defense Innovation Initiative (DII) in the middle of November 2014. The online news outlet JBpress contained an article by Junichi Fukuda on January 6, 2015, entitled, “U.S. Starts its ‘Third Offset Strategy.’” An offset strategy refers to using everything, including technological strength, in strategies against hostile powers to offset the superiority of the other party. This third offset strategy is after the nuclear force that offset the conventional military force of the Soviet Union during the early days of the Cold War. From the 1970s, the offset strategy included the Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) and Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS), precision-guided weapons that use GPS in combat management and tactical reconnaissance systems like the B-52 bomber, and stealth technologies exemplified by the F-117 Nighthawk. In its third offset strategy the U.S. is also employing asymmetric war techniques – which China and Russia are particularly skilled at – such as anti-ship ballistic missiles, submarines, stealth aircraft, and satellite attack capabilities. It is bringing in brand-new weapons to offset the predominance of China and Russia.
One specific example from this American offset strategy is the Zumwalt-class destroyer. In the January 2016 issue of THEMIS magazine there was an article entitled, “U.S. Could Destroy the Chinese Military Cities With New Destroyers,” which read as follows:
Zumwalt-class destroyers are high-tech, stealth destroyers as a full-out effort by the U.S. to prepare for futuristic war. The most unique characteristic of these destroyers is that they are equipped with railguns, laser guns, and other new-style arms. Laser guns are railguns that use lasers to instantly win out over missile saturation attacks, which the Chinese Army is especially skilled in, and offer ranges that exceed those of missiles. They allow waves of attacks on military installations from the ocean.
Here, “saturation attack” means attacks with capabilities that exceed the other side’s defense abilities in a given time period. For instance, if the defenders can simultaneously intercept five missiles, a saturation attack could be made by shooting six missiles at once. The Zumwalt-class destroyers consign the Chinese missiles, which are supposed to be used in saturation attacks, to oblivion.
Yet there are problems with equipping the Zumwalt-class destroyers with railguns: namely, ensuring durability and continuation. The article continues:
The Ministry of Defense budget has included railgun research and development (R&D) since early 1990, and has placed R&D orders with seven companies including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Sumitomo Electric Industries, and Fuji Electric. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s former Institute of Space and Astronautical Science is also moving forward on development. Regarding linear research in particular, The Japan Steel Works has acquired steel manufacturing technologies that can withstand electromagnetic waves, which has drawn the attention of the U.S.
The U.S. Navy is asking Japan for cooperation to deploy the next-generation Zumwalt-class destroyers in the Pacific Ocean, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised extensive support. Namely, to enhance railgun durability, it is highly possible that a secret agreement was concluded for the Japanese side to start providing special alloy steel.
Japan’s great technological strength is contributing to greater stealth capabilities for American fighter aircraft. F-22 stealth fighters, the strongest in the U.S., are frequently coming to Japan because, “Stealth performance falls without maintenance using Japan’s excellent, special painting technologies.” In other words, Japanese technologies are supporting the offset strategy determined by President Barack Obama.
Obama declared the U.S. would no longer be the “policeman of the world,” and the country began turning inward as the necessity of obtaining oil from the Middle East (Saudi Arabia) decreased due to domestic shale gas production. This led to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the appearance of the IS, and other chaos throughout the world. China is also taking actions like interfering at the Senkaku Islands and advancing into the South China Sea because of Obama’s attitude. However, according to the article in THEMIS, the U.S. is approaching a turning point in its strategy of appeasing China, regardless of whether the next president is a Republican or Democrat, and it is highly possible that friction between the U.S. and China will grow. The U.S. Department of Defense, to live up to the expectations of the new president, is beginning preparations for a war with China, which will be supported by Japanese technological strength. The article concludes by saying that China is maneuvering through its many cyber forces to steal these technologies away from Japan, and protecting Japanese confidentiality will be of great importance.
Many Japanese technologies are used in weapons. These technologies have been sold cheaply in the past, and a vicious circle has continued in which Japan had to buy the weapons developed with these advanced sciences and technologies from the U.S. at high prices. However, Japanese technologies comprise some of the cutting-edge arms technologies used by the U.S. Armed Forces, so this is our chance to unilaterally sever this vicious circle. From the viewpoint of security, it is also risky to depend on American weapons. The fundamental parts of American weapons, including software, are “black boxes,” and Japan becomes powerless as soon as American maintenance is no longer provided. This is clear when looking at what happened to the Iranian state-of-the-art fighter aircraft from by the era of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi after the Iranian Revolution. Japan must develop its own, unique defense systems like enemy identification equipment, computer systems, codes, GPS, and cutting-edge weapons. The Abe administration has taken measures with an eye towards overseas markets – like relaxing the arms export terms and offering submarine technologies to Australia – by which it is aiming to reduce the burden of development expenses and cut costs through mass production. In this way, Japan will be able to have its own weapons that are useful in emergencies, and also control the exported weapons unlike in the past.
Nuclear weapons – a 20th-century technology – are the strongest type of weapon, but Japan, as the only country that was the victim of nuclear bombing, has decided not to possess them. Instead, it has utilized leading-edge technologies to create 21st-century weapons. For example, railguns have the same destructive power as small nuclear weapons and can fly 1,000 kilometers in five minutes. Japan has already succeeded at firing ultra-high-speed bullets that weigh 100 grams and travel 4.5 kilometers per second. From now, Japan should strive to develop weapons like railguns and laser guns to create a flawless defense stance and enhance its ability to deter attacks. Moreover, it should strengthen cyber security as much possible to prevent the theft of its technologies. To ensure its ability to guarantee security, I think that Japan must amend the constitution, change the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty into a bilateral treaty, and further relax conditions on arms exports.
In the House of Councillors election to be held in July of this year, Abe should directly take on the issue of constitutional reform for the first time in history. Rather than a double election of both houses, which the New Komeito Party opposes, I expect that simultaneous elections will be conducted. Abe must want to hold a House of Representatives election around one month before or after the House of Councillors election, gain great victories in both houses, and fill two thirds or more seats with powers in favor of constitutional change. But even if that were achieved, the biggest obstacle would be the national referendum – at present it would be extremely difficult to gain a majority to support constitutional reform. Just like elections, in national referendums voting rights are given to people age 18 and older. I think that powerful measures are required to influence the public opinion and strongly appeal to young people. Japan’s fate will be decided over the next six months, and I hope Abe will stand firm during this critical time.
The Democratic Progressive Party won a complete victory in the election in Taiwan, using China’s expansion policy as a negative example. If Japan learned about true history, and Japanese people had solidarity, there would be no issues even if North Korea has nuclear arms or China pressures Japan in various ways. What we must avoid is antagonism between Japanese people.
At the end of last year Japan and South Korea suddenly and unexpectedly came to an agreement on the comfort women issue, but the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan and former comfort women in South Korea are putting up a fuss and attempting to have the agreement revoked. The comfort women issue with South Korea has ended; paying one billion yen, with the condition of having comfort woman statues removed, is a just cause that could be a way to deflate the anger of President Park Geun-hye. The true enemy in the comfort women issue is North Korea, which exists in the background. North Korean powers have infiltrated deeply into the South Korean government and are dragging out the issue by refusing to settle it via money. They inflame citizens’ criticism of the government, and are working with the end goal of annexing South Korea and obtaining its appealing economic strength. The success of the recent hydrogen bomb experiment was improbable, but North Korea moved forward with it anyway because it was a way to test the miniaturization of atomic bombs for nuclear fusion (hydrogen bombs). I think the correct view is to see this as a way of restraining China as well as a step towards annexing South Korea.
Japan should learn from this and – in order to banish the situation in which the enemy of the Japanese people is the Japanese people – it must use true historical education and correct news reports to revive Japan as a homeland that is worthy of pride.
January 22, 2016 (Friday) 11:00 p.m.