NAPSNet Daily Report 14 February, 2003

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 14 February, 2003", NAPSNet Daily Report, February 14, 2003, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-14-february-2003/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. US ROK Forces
2. US on DPRK Sanctions
3. DPRK-US Relations
4. ROK-Russia DPRK Diplomacy
5. DPRK UN Meddling Accusations
6. Kim DPRK “Secret Payments” Apology
7. Japan Domestic Economy
8. Russian Domestic Economy
9. Japan-Germany Iraq Relief Talks
10. DPRK on US Military Border Movement
11. DPRK-ROK Cross-Border Route
12. PRC Space Exploration
II. Japan 1. Japanese Logistical Support for US
2. Japan on War against Iraq
3. Japanese Opinion Poll on Iraq
4. Japan on PKO Participation
5. US Bases in Japan
6. Overseas A-Bomb Survivors
7. Lawsuit on Fast Breeder Reactor Monju
8. US on Japanese Nukes
9. TEPCO Nuclear Reactor Restart
10. SDF-Police Joint Drill

I. United States

1. US ROK Forces

The LA Times (Sonni Efron and Mark Magnier, “RUMSFELD MAY REDUCE FORCES IN SOUTH KOREA,” Washington, 02/14/03) and the Washington Post (Bradley Graham, “US MAY SHIFT TROOPS IN KOREA,” 02/14/03) reported that US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld expressed support yesterday for shifting US forces in the ROK away from the fortified border between the ROK and DPRK and from the capital city, Seoul, adding that there might even be an overall reduction in the 37,000 US troops stationed on the peninsula. Disclosing that US military officials have been working privately for months on a potential repositioning of US troops in the ROK, Rumsfeld said bilateral discussions on the subject would soon begin at the invitation of the ROK’s President-elect Roh Moo-Hyun. His remarks to the Senate Armed Services Committee came against the backdrop of recent strains between the US and the ROK over how to deal with the DPRK’s intensified pursuit of nuclear weapons.

2. US on DPRK Sanctions

BBC News (“US ‘NOT PRESSING FOR NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS,'” 02/14/03) reported that the US has said it does not intend to press for immediate sanctions against the DPRK. The crisis over the DPRK’s nuclear program was referred this week to the UN Security Council, which could make such a move. US envoy Richard Williamson insisted that the US – which pressed for the council’s involvement – was still keen to solve the crisis diplomatically. But the DPRK said his remarks were untrustworthy, and maintained that the dispute could only be resolved by direct negotiations between the US and the DPRK. Diplomatic solution US envoy Richard Williamson told reporters at the UN that sanctions against Pyongyang were “not an issue right now.” Secretary of State Colin Powell said: “We still think there is the possibility of a diplomatic solution.” Japan, the ROK, the PRC, and Russia – have also urged further talks rather than possible military action.

3. DPRK-US Relations

The Washington File (“KELLY SAYS US WOULD WELCOME A NEW RELATIONSHIP TO NORTH KOREA,” Washington, Washington, 02/14/03) (James Kelly before House International Relations Committee Feb. 13) reported that despite growing tensions, the United States would still welcome an opportunity to forge a new relationship with North Korea, says James Kelly, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs. At a February 13 hearing before the House subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, International Relations Committee, Kelly said: “We want North Korea to understand that the United States stands ready to build a different kind of relationship with it, once Pyongyang eliminates its nuclear weapons program in a verifiable and irreversible manner, and comes into verifiable compliance with its international commitments.” He outlined US desires to pursue a “bold approach” with Pyongyang which would entail “political and economic steps to improve the lives of the North Korean people” and to move the U.S.-North Korea relationship toward normalcy. “North Korea appears to be considering taking further provocative, escalatory actions. If the North reverses course, and gives up its nuclear weapons program in an open, verifiable way, we may again consider a bold approach,” Kelly said.

The full transcript can be found: http://usinfo.state.gov/cgi-bin/washfile/display.pl?p=/products/washfile/latest&f=03021307.elt&t=/products/washfile/newsitem.shtml

The Associated Press (Barry Schweid, “POWELL SAYS NORTH KOREA REJECTS US PROPOSAL FOR REGIONAL TALKS ON ITS NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAMS,” Washington, 02/14/03) reported that US Secretary of State Colin Powell told Congress Thursday that the DPRK had turned down a US proposal to include the PRC, Russia and the ROK in talks over the DPRK’s nuclear weapons programs. “We have to have a regional settlement,” Powell said of efforts to “put the nuclear genie back in the bottle.” “It can’t be just be the US and the DPRK,” Powell said. But, he told the House Budget Committee, the DPRK’s response through diplomatic channels and in low-level contact with the Bush administration was “no,no,no,” that Pyongyang wanted to talk to the United States alone. “We have to find a way to broaden the dialogue,” Powell said. “China is threatened, Russia is threatened, South Korea is threatened,” Powell said. “So many other countries are affected.” But despite the standoff Powell said a diplomatic solution still was possible. Also Thursday, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said North Korea may pose a bigger threat as a supplier of nuclear weapons than it would as a potential aggressor in Asia. “They sell almost everything,” Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “They are the world’s greatest proliferator of missile technology,” and hence a problem for more than one nation to solve, he said.

4. ROK-Russia DPRK Diplomacy

The Associated Press (“SOUTH KOREA READY TO WORK WITH RUSSIA TO SOLVE KOREA CRISIS,” Moscow, 02/14/03) reported that the ROK is ready to work closely with Russia to help defuse the crisis over the DPRK’s nuclear program, a top Russian lawmaker said Friday. Russian Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov met Friday with Soon-hyung Chough, ROK president’s special envoy. “We agreed on active dialogue. We believe that Russia, the US, China and South Korea should be mediators for security on the Korean peninsula,” Seleznyov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying. Russia backs a diplomatic solution of the crisis. On Thursday, Russia criticized the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency’s decision to refer the standoff over the DPRK’s nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council, saying the move dealt a blow to diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis. Russia has good ties with the DPRK and is trying to mediate the standoff. Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov recently visited Pyongyang and said Russia was planning new initiatives to encourage talks. The ROK’s envoy was expected to meet with Losyukov later Friday.

5. DPRK UN Meddling Accusations

The Associated Press (“NORTH KOREA ACCUSES NUKE AGENCY OF MEDDLING,” Seoul, 02/14/03) reported that the DPRK accused the U.N. nuclear watchdog Friday of interfering in Pyongyang’s internal affairs by referring the dispute over its nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council. The official KCNA news agency called the International Atomic Energy Agency “America’s lapdog” and said North Korea has no legal obligations to the Vienna-based agency because it withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in January. “Thus discussing the nuclear issue through the IAEA is an act of interference in internal affairs,” said KCNA, which was monitored by the South Korean news agency Yonhap. KCNA also urged the nuclear agency to investigate “the illegal US behavior that brought a nuclear crisis to the Korean peninsula.”

6. Kim DPRK “Secret Payments” Apology

The Washington Post (“SOUTH KOREAN ‘SORRY’ FOR PAYMENTS TO NORTH,” Seoul, 02/14/03) reported that ROK president, Kim Dae Jung, said today that he was aware of illegal payments to the DPRK before a historic summit meeting between the two countries in 2000 but allowed the money to be disbursed in the interest of peace. Kim, who leaves office February 25, apologized for the scandal, which has embarrassed his government and intensified criticism of his “sunshine policy” toward the DPRK. “I am really sorry for causing deep concern to the Korean people owing to the controversy,” Kim said in a televised speech. “As a person, I feel miserable and my heart is aching.” The Hyundai business group has admitted giving the DPRK $186 million before the summit but claims the money was part of its business deals in the DPRK that include tourism, railways and an industrial park. The money was borrowed from an ROK state-run bank. Opposition lawmakers claim the money was given to the DPRK — possibly from the ROK government — as payment for the talks. In his speech, Kim acknowledged that Hyundai made the transfers with the government’s knowledge, and said he accepted the move, even though it was in violation of ROK law. “Since it has become an open, public issue, I think the government should disclose details and that I, as the president, should take responsibility,” he said. “I take responsibility for this situation,” Kim added. “But I earnestly hope that our people will understand my innermost feelings about the thing I did, out of my desire to promote peace and our national interest.”

7. Japan Domestic Economy

The New York Times (Ken Belson, “JAPAN’S ECONOMY EXPANDS FOR 4TH CONSECUTIVE QUARTER,” Tokyo, 02/14/03) reported that Japan’s economy expanded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2 percent in the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with the previous quarter, the government said today, defying expectations that growth had stalled and that the fourth recession in a decade had begun. As in other quarters in 2002, growth was driven by strong exports and steady gains in consumer spending and capital investment, which offset declines in new-home starts and government spending. The string of four consecutive quarterly expansions, though, may come to a halt this year if the global economy slows and the government’s campaign to purge the financial system of its nonperforming loans gathers steam. Any setbacks would intensify calls on Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, whose popularity is fading, to find more ways to stimulate the sagging economy with more public spending and a more relaxed monetary policy. Such measures have only softened the slowdown in recent years, not generated a robust expansion. In the latest quarter, the economy grew 2.4 percent, compared with the fourth quarter of 2001, when the previous recession was just ending. For all of 2002, Japan’s economy grew 0.3 percent. The stronger-than-expected figures gave stock prices a lift. The benchmark Nikkei 225-stock index jumped 1.5 percent just after the numbers were released. The yen also gained ground against the dollar. Despite the surprisingly upbeat quarterly figures, which are notoriously volatile, government ministers have tempered their optimism about the potential for further growth this year.

8. Russian Domestic Economy

The New York Times (Andrew Jack and Rafael Behr, “IMF WARNS RUSSIA ON GROWTH AND NEED FOR REFORM,” Moscow, 02/14/03) reported that the Russian economy is slowing down and faces further threats from oil price fluctuations and inflation, the International Monetary Fund warned on Thursday. In an unusually critical statement at the conclusion of a two-week visit by IMF officials to Moscow, the organization predicted the Russian economy would expand by 3.5 per cent this year against the government’s growth forecast of 4.2 per cent. The IMF’s warning came in the week that BP announced a $6.75bn (?4.18bn) investment in Russia creating the country’s third largest oil company. The move was hailed by the Russian government as a symbolic vote of confidence in the country, which has struggled for more than a decade with painful economic reforms. However, the IMF said the central bank should give higher priority to reducing inflation, and warned that sustained growth would require a revival of structural reforms, cautious macro-economic policies and reduced dependence on natural resources. It is believed that IMF officials also argued forcefully that the government should create a formal stabilization fund to ring-fence the windfall profits from high oil prices. Without such a fund, there would be a risk of rouble appreciation and an expansion in government spending. Russia’s finance ministry has long opposed such a fund, which operates in some other oil-dependent countries such as Norway. However, finance officials said they were set to recommend the idea to the government on Friday, with revenues drawn mainly from tariffs on energy exports.

9. Japan-Germany Iraq Relief Talks

The Associated Press (Jonathan Fowler, “JAPAN, GERMANY FORMALLY CONFIRM PARTICIPATION IN IRAQ RELIEF TALKS,” Geneva, 02/14/03) reported that Japan and Germany have confirmed their participation in a conference this weekend to prepare for consequences of a war in Iraq, leaving the United States the only invited country refusing to attend, Swiss officials said Friday. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation said it had received formal acceptances from Japan and Germany Twenty-nine of 30 countries invited said they plan to attend, including Britain, France and Russia and Iraq’s neighbors like Iran and Turkey. The United States is skipping the event on grounds that U.N. agencies already have made extensive preparations and it is unclear how the meeting would help, US officials have said. Iraq was not invited because Swiss officials said they wanted to avoid turning the conference into a political event. The Geneva conference follows a separate closed-door U.N. Security Council meeting Thursday on the humanitarian consequences of a possible war. A public Security Council session is planned next Tuesday. The United Nations has appealed for more than US$100 million since December to get food and other humanitarian supplies in place in case of war. The United States and Britain already have contributed US$15 million to a U.N. contingency fund for war victims and Washington has pledged an additional US$40 million.

10. DPRK on US Military Border Movement

Reuters (Julian Rake, “North Korea Accuses US of Military Moves on Border,” Panmunjom, North Korea, 02/14/03) reported that the DPRK accused the US on Friday of building up its forces along the Demilitarized Zone separating and said US armor was entering the zone illegally. “There have been some aggressive moves by the US in the southern part of the DMZ,” Major Kim Kwang-kil said as the two countries remained locked in crisis over the US allegation that the DPRK is pursuing a secret nuclear arms program. “We have seen armored cars and tanks inside the DMZ, which is a violation of the armistice because only officers can carry side arms inside the DMZ,” he said of the agreement, which ended the fighting in the 1950-53 Korean War. “They have increased the number of soldiers and they are carrying heavy weapons,” he stated. “They’re increasing the movement of their army,” he added.

11. DPRK-ROK Cross-Border Route

The Associated Press (“FIRST OVERLAND ROUTE CONNECTING NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA OFFICIALLY OPENS,” Seoul, 02/14/03) reported that amid firecrackers and soaring balloons, about 500 ROK tourists traveled to North Korea on Friday along the first cross-border overland route opened since the peninsula was divided in 1945. About 20 buses carrying the tourists drove into the 4 kilometer (2.5-mile) -wide demilitarized zone on their way to the North’s scenic Diamond Mountain resort, less than an hour away. Last week, ROK officials tested the road, but the overland route was officially opened on Friday. Organizers said Friday’s delegation consisted mainly of officials from the government and business circles and that tours will be available to ordinary citizens beginning next week. “Today is a meaningful and historic day,” Kim Hyung-ki, vice unification minister, said at an opening ceremony in Kosung, a town of the ROK’s east coast. “Recently, inter-Korean relations are suffering difficulties due to North Korea’s nuclear issue,” he said. “But the North’s nuclear issue must be resolved peacefully and inter-Korean cooperative projects must continue as well.” Firecrackers soared into the winter sky and colorful balloons were released to celebrate the occasion.

12. PRC Space Exploration

BBC News (“CHINA TO PROCEED WITH SPACE MISSION,” 02/14/03) reported that a senior PRC space official says his country will go ahead with its first manned space flight later this year despite the Columbia shuttle disaster two weeks ago. The China Daily newspaper quoted the president of the PRC Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, Zhang Qingwei, as saying that the PRC would stick to its schedule without being distracted. Zhang said technically there is no direct link between the PRC’s manned space program and the American missions, and the PRC has developed an effective quality-control system in rocket and spacecraft manufacturing, launching and research.

II. Japan

1. Japanese Logistical Support for US

Kyodo (“MSDF LANDING SHIP ON WAY TO HELP U.S. ANTITERROR EFFORT,” Hiroshima, 02/05/03) reported that the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) landing ship Shimokita left its home port on Feb. 4 in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, as part of Japan’s rear-area support for US-led military operations in Afghanistan. It marks the first time Japan has sent an amphibious force ship under its antiterrorism law. The Shimokita’s designation is landing ship tank, meaning it can handle tanks. According to the MSDF, the 8,900-ton Shimokita will help transport construction equipment and Thai military personnel from Thailand to an unspecified country bordering the Arabian Sea. MSDF officials said the construction equipment will eventually be taken to Afghanistan to help repair an air base used by the US Air Force near Kabul.

The Japan Times (“AEGIS’ LACK OF DATA SEPARATION MAY TURN INTO LEGAL PROBLEM,” 02/08/03) reported that data collected by a Japanese Aegis-equipped destroyer in the Indian Ocean cannot be divided into information relevant to the US campaign in Afghanistan and information relating to a possible attack on Iraq, Defense Agency chief Shigeru Ishiba said. The remark, delivered at a session of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, could pose legal problems for the government. Japan dispatched the destroyer on the basis of a special antiterrorism law that specifically validates logistic support for the campaign in Afghanistan — but no other missions.

2. Japan on War against Iraq

The Japan Times (Nao Shimoyachi, “IRAQ PRESENTS JAPAN WITH FRESH HEADACHE,” 02/06/03) reported that although the Japanese government has declined to state publicly whether it will support a US-led war on Iraq, it has recently been considering how it might help the US in the event of a conflict and how it can assist in the postwar rehabilitation of Iraq and surrounding countries. Possible options include sending Self-Defense Forces (SDF) units to provide logistic support for the US-led operation, to assist in the reconstruction of roads and other infrastructure, and to help with the disposal of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological agents. The government has been contemplating new legislation to authorize SDF activities of this kind even when a situation is too volatile for the UN to launch peacekeeping operations. Whether this legislation materializes may depend greatly on what happens with Iraq. Accordingly, a senior government official involved in preparing an Iraq-related bill stated that, should the US attack Iraq without a UN mandate, it would be difficult for Japan to back the US, let alone forge new legislation aimed at supporting these operations. Some Defense Agency officials and Ground Self-Defense Force officers have voiced concern that they do not have the necessary expertise to deal with chemical and biological weapons. Toshiyuki Shikata, a Teikyo University professor and former chief commander of the GSDF Northern Army, argued that Japan should base its course of action on its national interests. Japan receives nearly 90 percent of its oil from the Middle East, so it should seek stability in that region by offering more “aggressive” support for a war on Iraq than for the offensive in Afghanistan, within constitutional limits, he said.

The Japan Times (“KOIZUMI PROVIDES TACIT SUPPORT FOR U.S. ATTACK,” 02/07/03) reported that the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi hinted that Japan would support a US-led military offensive against Iraq “as an ally of the United States.” But during a session of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, he said it would be “desirable” if the UN Security Council adopts a new resolution backing such an attack. “We will make a decision (on whether to support an US-led attack on Iraq) following discussions at the United Nations,” he told reporters. Following Secretary of State Colin Powell’s report to the Security Council, Koizumi said he is more suspicious about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction. Criticism of the US stance on Iraq is “completely skewed,” Koizumi said, adding that all concerns regarding Iraq would disappear if Iraq observed UN resolutions. “The essence of the problem is that Iraq has not observed UN resolutions for the past 10 years,” he said.

3. Japanese Opinion Poll on Iraq

The Japan Times (“79% IN JAPAN OPPOSE U.S. OFFENSIVE IN IRAQ: SURVEY,” 02/11/03) reported that nearly 79 percent of those who responded to a recent Kyodo News phone survey said they oppose a US-led military attack on Iraq, with just 15.5 percent expressing support, the news agency said Monday. Some 48.5 percent of respondents said that the Japanese government should not support a military strike, an increase of 9.7 percentage points from a similar survey conducted in January. Meanwhile, 20.9 percent said the government should support a strike, down from the 29.6 percent recorded in the January poll. When asked whether they would support a dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to Iraq to assist in reconstruction efforts after a military campaign, 47.4 percent of respondents said they would, up 3.8 percentage points from the January survey. Some 46.1 percent of respondents said they would not support a dispatch of this kind. Eighty-two percent of respondents voiced fear that an attack on Iraq would affect Japan’s economy and their daily lives, well above the 15.1 percent who voiced optimism on these matters.

4. Japan on PKO Participation

The Japan Times (“KAWAGUCHI PITCHES SDF ROLE IN U.N. PEACE EFFORTS,” 02/05/03) reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi has proposed allowing the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to join multinational forces when they are part of UN-sanctioned international activities working for peace. Kawaguchi’s proposal is contained in an article in the monthly opinion magazine Ronza. “There are expectations for multinational forces established based on UN resolutions to play an increasingly wide-ranging role with changes in the security environment of the international community, and their importance has increased,” she said. “But under the current PKO (peacekeeping operations) Law, our country cannot take part in such activities.” “Depending on the duties (required), I do not think our Constitution bans participation of the SDF or cooperation with multinational forces that are established in line with the United Nations,” Kawaguchi said in the article. The remarks in the article were widely seen as reflecting Kawaguchi’s goal of better defining Japan’s role in the reconstruction of Iraq after an expected US-led military campaign. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said that Kawaguchi’s views in the article do not represent the official government position. On how Japan should deal with international terrorism, Kawaguchi said in the article, “There is the issue of asking citizens to accept a certain amount of inconvenience in order to strictly curtail terrorist organizations. “For example, they include restrictions toward freedom of association, such as banning participation in terrorist associations, a certain level of restrictions on economic activities and rights to assets due to strict measures on terrorist funds, and stricter inspections of baggage on public transport,” she said.

5. US Bases in Japan

Kyodo (“OKIMI MAYOR RESIGNS OVER OFFER TO HOST U.S. DRILLS,” Hiroshima, 02/06/03) reported that the mayor of Okimi, Hiroshima Prefecture, resigned over his controversial offer to host night landing drills involving US carrier planes on an uninhabited island in the town’s jurisdiction. The mayor Hidekazu Tanimoto also retracted the offer. “I should have explained to the town assembly beforehand, but I was told by the Defense Facilities Administration Agency to keep it top secret,” he said. Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said that the withdrawal was a matter for the town of Okimi to decide, denying any national government interference in the latest developments.

6. Overseas A-Bomb Survivors

Kyodo (“GOVERNMENT LOSES HIBAKUSHA ALLOWANCE CASE,” Fukuoka, 02/08/03) reported that the Fukuoka High Court upheld a lower court ruling ordering the Japanese government to pay a South Korean atomic-bomb survivor living abroad medical allowances designed to assist hibakusha (A-bomb survivor). In handing down the ruling, presiding Judge Akio Ishizuka said, “Hibakusha do not lose their status or the right to receive the medical allowance by living abroad.” The last ruling over a lawsuit filed by an A-bomb survivor living overseas was issued in December, when the central government lost a case at the Osaka High Court. By not appealing this decision to the Supreme Court, the government effectively accepted defeat for the first time in a suit of this kind.

7. Lawsuit on Fast Breeder Reactor Monju

The Japan Times (“MONJU PLAINTIFFS URGE END TO APPEAL,” 02/05/03) reported that plaintiffs who won a high court decision to revoke the government’s 1983 approval of the construction of the Monju fast-breeder nuclear reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, urged the government to abandon its appeal to the Supreme Court. “The shortcomings in safety assessments pointed out in the ruling are extremely serious,” the plaintiffs and Tsuruga locals stated in a letter handed to Takeo Hiranuma, minister of economy, trade and industry. “We demand that the state seize on the ruling as an opportunity to review the Monju development project at a time when the nation’s finances are in dire straits.” Other antinuclear groups, such as Greenpeace Japan and the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center, joined the clamor for Hiranuma and the Nuclear Safety Commission to scrap the Monju reactor and improve the government’s safety-assessment system for nuclear plant design.

8. US on Japanese Nukes

Kyodo (“ARMITAGE DOUBTS JAPAN WILL DEVELOP NUKES,” Washington, 02/06/03) reported that US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage brushed aside speculation that Japan may arm itself with atomic weapons in response to the DPRK’s nuclear arms programs. “As long as the United States continues to provide the nuclear umbrella, Japan will not arm in a nuclear fashion,” Armitage said in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. With the DPRK admitting to having a uranium enrichment program and restarting operations of nuclear facilities for suspected nuclear arms development, there has been growing talk in the US about the possibility of Japan building a nuclear arsenal. Armitage stressed the need for the US to maintain a close security alliance with Japan to prevent it from seeking a nuclear arsenal. “If, however, Japan begins to question our affection or our alliance, then it would lead to a rather destabilizing situation,” he said.

9. TEPCO Nuclear Reactor Restart

Kyodo (“TEPCO TO RESTART A FUKUSHIMA REACTOR IN MARCH,” Fukushima, 02/09/03) reported that Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) plans to resume operations of a reactor at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima, company sources said. If the company obtains approval from residents, it will restart its No. 3 reactor at its Fukushima Unit 1 plant as early as next month. It would be the first step toward TEPCO restarting its plants since it was discovered last August that the company had falsified records on cracks at nuclear power plants. But Fukushima Gov. Eisaku Sato has been cautious about operations being resumed. “It is not time to comment yet (about restarting the plants),” he said. Operations at the No. 3 reactor, in the town of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, were suspended last July for 103 days due to regular inspections. Inspections were prolonged, however, when the company found cracks in more than 80 percent of the reactor’s pipes. It has since either repaired or replaced the damaged pipes.

10. SDF-Police Joint Drill

Kyodo (“FOREIGN INVASION DRILL HELD IN FUKUI,” Fukui, 02/11/03) reported that the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) and Fukui Prefectural Police conducted a joint security drill Monday simulating an incursion by armed commandos on the Fukui coast, which is dotted with atomic plants. The purpose of the drill, conducted as a strategy session using prefectural police force maps, was to enhance measures against large-scale terrorist activities in the wake of the attacks in the US in 2001 and occasional intrusions of North Korean spy ships into Japanese territory, police officials said. “North Korea poses a grave threat to our country, what with its spy ships, abductions and nuclear arms development. To maintain security, we are looking forward to such cooperation,” said Kenji Terao, a commander of the 10th Division of the GSDF. Junichi Uchida, a prefectural police chief, said: “This time we only conducted a simulation. But next time we would like to hold a live exercise involving actual forces to improve our capability.” It is the second time the SDF and police have conducted a joint exercise, following one involving the GSDF and Hokkaido Prefectural Police in November.

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Brandon Yu: napsnet@nautilus.org
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Timothy L. Savage: napsnet@nautilus.org
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Young-soo: yskim328@hotmail.com
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hibiki Yamaguchi: hibikiy84@hotmail.com
Tokyo, Japan

Saiko Iwata: saiko@akira.ne.jp
Tokyo, Japan

Hiroya Takagi: hiroya_takagi@hotmail.com
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin: icipu@online.ru
Moscow, Russian Federation

Wu Chunsi: cswu@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Dingli Shen: dlshen@fudan.ac.cn
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

John McKay: John.McKay@adm.monash.edu.au
Clayton, Australia

 


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