NAPSNet Daily Report 25 June, 2002

Recommended Citation

"NAPSNet Daily Report 25 June, 2002", NAPSNet Daily Report, June 25, 2002, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-25-june-2002/

 
CONTENTS

I. United States

1. US-DPRK Talks
2. Anniversary of Korean War
3. DPRK Refugees in PRC
4. ROK Aid to DPRK
5. World Cup Broadcast in DPRK
6. Salvage of Mystery Ship
7. Japanese Plutonium Stockpile
8. Russian Military Smuggling to PRC
9. PRC Military Purchases from Russia
10. Cross-Straits Transport Links
11. US-PRC Talks
12. PRC Separatist Movements
13. US Missile Defense
II. Republic of Korea 1. DPRK Defectors
2. DPRK-US Relations
3. US-ROK Relations
4. DPRK Reaction to World Cup
5. Post World Cup Plan
III. Japan 1. Koizumi’s Visit to Okinawa
2. Japan Domestic Politics
3. Overseas A-Bomb Survivors
4. Japanese Educational Access

I. United States

1. US-DPRK Talks

The Washington Times carried an opinion article by Notra Trulock, associate editor at Accuracy in Media and former director of intelligence at the Energy Department (“GOING NUCLEAR IN NORTH KOREA,” 06/25/02), which argued that a new crisis is looming for the US government this summer over the Agreed Framework with the DPRK. The article stated, “it looks like the North Koreans didn’t ‘freeze’ their program after all and used the time to produce nuclear warheads.” Pointing out that the public version of a National Intelligence Estimate on Foreign Missile Developments published in December 2001 said that the intelligence community judged in the mid-1990s that the DPRK had produced one or two nuclear weapons, the author noted that in fact those intelligence judgments dealt only with plutonium production. Therefore, the author argued, this “new assessment … implies that North Korea has accomplished all the other phases of nuclear warhead manufacturing.” Arguing that the DPRK “is not going away soon,” the author recommended to “test North Korea by offering to convert the deal to non-nuclear power plants while upgrading the country’s power grid, as [Henry] Sokolski recommends. If this is really about economic development and power generation, North Korea should jump at that deal.”

The Wall Street Journal carried an editorial (“BRIBING THE AXIS OF EVIL,” 06/24/02), which criticized the statement from the recent US- Japan-ROK trilateral coordination committee meeting as “conspicuously silent on Pyongyang’s continuing misbehavior.” It argued, “Continuing with the [light-water] reactor deal does not constitute a coherent U.S. strategy for dealing with North Korea, especially now that we’ve experienced the horrors of terrorism first hand.” It warned, “The fear is that knowledge of how to build nuclear reactors could help terrorists find a way to attack them. So why does the State Department want to share information too dangerous to show freely to the U.S. public with an unstable regime that already sells missiles to anyone who asks? A more coherent policy on North Korea would be to freeze transfers of expertise and stop work on the reactor foundations at Kumho (where the first concrete is to be poured in August) until North Korea allows full inspection of all suspected nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency.” It concluded, “We’re not against talking to North Korea. But the first point of any resumed dialogue should be to convey the clear message that meddling with weapons of mass destruction will no longer be tolerated.” [Ed note: This article was included in the US Defense Department’s Early Bird news service for June 24].

2. Anniversary of Korean War

Reuters (“NORTH KOREA MARKS WAR DATE WITH ANTI-U.S. RALLIES,” Seoul, 06/25/02) reported that the DPRK’s official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said that the DPRK on Tuesday marked the 52nd anniversary of the Korean War with huge anti-US rallies in Pyongyang. KCNA stated, “Today, 52 years after the U.S. imperialists provoked a war of aggression in Korea, Pyongyang was fully determined to wipe out the enemy.” It added, “The venues were crowded with hundreds of thousands of Pyongyangites from all walks of life who angrily shouted anti-U.S. slogans, holding slogan-boards and placards condemning the U.S. imperialists.”

3. DPRK Refugees in PRC

Reuters (“NORTH KOREAN DEFECTORS ARRIVE IN S.KOREA,” Seoul, 06/23/02) and the Associated Press (Paul Shin, “TWO DOZEN NORTH KOREAN ASYLUM SEEKERS ARRIVE IN SOUTH KOREA,” Seoul, 06/23/02) reported that ROK government officials said that 26 DPRK defectors, including an infant, arrived in the ROK on Monday. The ROK and the PRC said over the weekend that they had agreed to permit more than 20 DPRK refugees in the ROK consulate in Beijing to travel to the ROK through a third country. PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao was quoted as saying in a report from the official Xinhua News Agency that the ROK “fully understood and accepted” the PRC’s demand that diplomatic offices should not be used as a channel for illegal immigration. 512 DPRK citizens have defected to the ROK so far this year, compared to 71 in 1998, 148 in 1999, 312 in 2000 and 583 in 2001.

The Washington Post (John Pomfret, “N. KOREAN REFUGEES LEAVE CHINA,” Beijing, 06/24/02, A16) reported that PRC sources said that the government’s decision to allow DPRK refugees to leave for the ROK was risky. An anonymous expert on the PRC’s interest in the Korean peninsula stated, “There is a concern here that this could start a flood from North Korea. This risks exploding out of control.” He pointed to the decision by Hungary in 1989 to allow tens of thousands of East Germans to pass through on their way to West Germany, precipitating the end of communism in Eastern Europe. He stated, “We don’t want that to happen here.” An unnamed ROK diplomat said that the PRC tried to get the ROK to pledge to turn away DPRK asylum-seekers in the future, but “we said we cannot do this.” He stated, “We cannot stop North Koreans from coming. That’s what China wants, but we cannot do that.”

4. ROK Aid to DPRK

The Washington Times (Gus Constantine, “GOVERNOR GIVES GEAR TO FARMS IN NORTH,” 06/26/02) reported that Lim Chang-yuel, whose term as governor of the ROK’s Kyonggi province expires Sunday, flew into Pyongyang on Monday with a planeload of agricultural equipment. During a two-day visit to Washington last week, Lim stated, “We are seeking to restore the momentum that produced [ROK] President Kim Dae-jung’s historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in June 2000.” Lim added, “There is no other way. For five decades we confronted the communist regime in the North and what did that accomplish? Nothing.”

5. World Cup Broadcast in DPRK

The Associated Press (“NORTH KOREA SHOWS SOUTH KOREAN WORLD CUP VICTORY ON STATE TELEVISION,” Seoul, 06/23/02) and Reuters (“NORTH KOREAN TV REVEALS SOUTH HOSTING WORLD CUP,” Seoul, 06/25/02) reported that foreign residents in Pyongyang said that the DPRK on Sunday showed parts of the ROK’s soccer victory over Italy on state television. The broadcast indicated that the ROK is hosting the World Cup, but did not say that Japan is the co-host. Yoo Sung-kyong, an official at the ROK Unification Ministry, said that the sound of ROK supporters chanting “Great Republic of Korea” was muted throughout the program, “But the edited version showed the game was played in the Taejon stadium. In addition, it showed South Korea’s national flags draped from the lower fence of the spectators’ area.” Foreign journalists who have traveled to the DPRK recently have said that they have been allowed more freedom to move around, although restrictions remain very tight.

The Associated Press (Sang-Hun Choe, “S. KOREA BROADCASTS WORLD CUP AT DMZ,” Seoul, 06/22/02) reported that on Saturday the ROK military transmitted a live radio broadcast of the ROK match with Spain in the World Cup quarterfinals over its loudspeakers along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Major Yoon Won-shik, a spokesman at the office of the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated, “We are broadcasting the World Cup matches as part of our psychological warfare against the North. There has been no detectable reaction from the Northern side.”

The Associated Press (Kevin Gray, “SOCCER DIPLOMACY: POLL INDICATES MAJORITY OF JAPANESE ROOTING FOR SOUTH KOREA IN WORLD CUP,” Yokohama, 06/25/02) reported that a poll by Kyodo News Agency said that about 60 percent of Japanese were rooting for the ROK to reach the final game in the World Cup.

6. Salvage of Mystery Ship

The Associated Press (“JAPAN COAST GUARD DISPATCHES PATROL BOATS AHEAD OF SALVAGE OPERATION,” Tokyo, 06/25/02) reported that Japanese Coast Guard ships arrived Tuesday at a salvage site in the East China Sea where workers will try raising a suspected DPRK spy ship that sank late last year inside the PRC’s economic zone. Japanese Coast Guard spokesman Yuji Ono declined to say how many Coast Guard gunboats were patrolling the area Tuesday, but he said that workboats would arrive later in the day or early Wednesday to begin lifting the sunken vessel. On Tuesday, Japan’s NHK television station reported that the boat was better armed than previously thought, with Soviet-made anti-aircraft artillery among the weapons found by divers, but the Defense Agency and Coast Guard could not confirm the report.

Reuters (Teruaki Ueno, “MYSTERY SHIP SAGA MAY DELAY JAPAN-N.KOREA TALKS,” Tokyo, 06/24/02) reported that diplomatic sources said Monday that Japan’s salvage of a suspected DPRK spy ship may cause the DPRK to postpone talks between Japanese and DPRK Red Cross officials. The two sides had agreed at previous talks to meet again in June, but an unnamed Japanese Red Cross official said that the DPRK has not sent word on the timing and venue for the meeting. The official stressed that there was no special reason for the two sides to delay their planned meeting, but acknowledged that it would be “difficult” to meet soon. An unnamed diplomatic source close to the DPRK government stated, “The mood surrounding the two countries is, in part, very bad. I wonder if the talks will be held even in July.” A Japanese diplomatic source argued, “I’m sure North Korea is nervous about the salvage operations for the mystery ship. It is highly conceivable that they want to see what Japan will do after salvaging the ship.”

7. Japanese Plutonium Stockpile

The Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, “ACTIVISTS WORRY JAPAN’S PLUTONIUM STOCKPILE MAY BE USED FOR WEAPONS,” Tokyo, 06/25/02) reported that anti- nuclear activists expressed concerns Tuesday that plutonium stockpiles at Japanese nuclear power plants may one day be used to make nuclear weapons. Tom Clements, a former Executive Director of the Washington- based Nuclear Control Institute, warned, “Because of (Japan’s) plutonium program, it’s certainly our understanding and belief that Japan does have the ability to build nuclear weapons in short order, and Japan is basically a latent nuclear weapon state.” According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, at the end of 2000 Japan had 5.3 tons of plutonium at reprocessing and fuel plants and reactors, as well as 32 tons being processed overseas. It also had 81.5 tons of plutonium in spent fuel.

8. Russian Military Smuggling to PRC

The Associated Press (“SEVERAL ARRESTED IN RUSSIAN MILITARY SMUGGLING TO CHINA,” Vladivostok, 06/25/02) reported that Russian security officials said Tuesday that they had detained several military officers and others in connection with an attempt to smuggle military hardware and documents into the PRC. A statement from the Federal Security Service office in Vladivostok said that the arrests were made June 17, the same day border guards seized classified airplane parts and documents aboard a train en route to the PRC. Russian security officials have said that a court had recently convicted a Russian man for collecting secret information about the Komsomolsk-on-Amur plant for an unspecified “Asian-Pacific” country.

9. PRC Military Purchases from Russia

The Washington Post (John Pomfret, “CHINA TO BUY 8 MORE RUSSIAN SUBMARINES,” Beijing, 06/25/02, A15) reported that Western and Russian sources said that the PRC has begun negotiations with Russia to buy eight more submarines for US$1.6 billion. Unnamed defense experts said that four Russian producers are bidding to build the diesel-powered Project 636 Kilo-class vessels, which will be equipped with Klub long- range, anti-ship missile systems. The PRC has already purchased four Kilo-class subs from Russia, including two Project 636 models. The deal for additional submarines is part of a US$4 billion weapons package that Russia has committed to provide the PRC over the next four to five years. Included in the package are two more Sovremenny-class destroyers, adding to a pair that the PRC has already received, a new batch of S300 PMU2 anti-aircraft missiles, and 40 Su-30MKK fighter- bombers. The sale puts Russia as the PRC’s biggest military trading partner, far ahead of Israel and such former Soviet states as Ukraine. The PRC became the world’s biggest importer of weapons in 2000, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Bernard Cole, an expert on the PRC navy at the National War College in Washington, said that the submarine deal will “very significantly enhance [the PRC] navy’s ability to influence events in the East China Sea, first, by enforcing a blockade against Taiwan, if Beijing adopts that course of action, and also by posing a serious problem for opposing naval forces attempting to operate in the area.” Cole added, “If Beijing is going to buy eight additional Kilos, it means that their domestic program to build Songs [class submarine] is, in fact, in trouble, which would certainly not surprise me.” An unnamed senior US defense official stated, “China still cannot find ships at sea. Over- the-horizon targeting escapes them. The United States built an open ocean surveillance capability in the 1960s. China has all the tools to build its own but it has not.” [Ed note: This article was included in the US Defense Department’s Early Bird news service for June 25].

10. Cross-Straits Transport Links

The Associated Press (Annie Huang, “CHINA PROVIDES DETAILS FOR TALKS ABOUT OPENING TRANSPORT LINKS WITH TAIWAN,” Taipei, 06/25/02) reported that Taiwanese and PRC media said Tuesday that the PRC outlined for the first time specific steps for how the PRC and Taiwan can negotiate opening direct shipping and aviation links. The China Times newspaper reported that Li Bingcai, deputy director of the PRC’s Taiwan Affairs Office, told visiting Taiwanese legislators from the opposition Nationalist Party and the People First Party on Monday that the PRC would allow non-governmental business organizations to first negotiate the technical details, such as which ports would be opened and which companies would be given the transportation routes. The second step would involve the business groups signing various agreements, which would be implemented after approval by authorities on both sides. The PRC’s state-run Xinhua News Agency published a brief report that quoted Li as telling the Taiwanese lawmakers that “non-governmental organizations” could be commissioned to negotiate direct links. The report stated, “This is the first time that the Chinese mainland has announced concrete propositions on the non-governmental approach to the” issue. Later Tuesday in Taipei, Chen Ming-tong, vice chairman of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, rejected the PRC proposal to treat the direct links like an “internal affair within one country.” Chen stated, “We want to be pragmatic and flexible, but as a basic principle, our national dignity and legal framework must be respected.”

11. US-PRC Talks

The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, “RUMSFELD DECLINES BEIJING INVITATION TO VISIT,” 06/22/02, 2) reported that US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Friday that he will not accept the PRC’s invitation to visit, but will send Assistant Defense Secretary Peter Rodman this weekend to discuss resuming military exchanges with the PRC army. Defense officials said that one reason Rumsfeld will not go to the PRC is the PRC’s handling of the collision between a US reconnaissance aircraft and a PRC interceptor jet last year. Rumsfeld said that Rodman “will be discussing the military-to-military relationships between our two countries, and he undoubtedly will be discussing things that I’ve discussed which we feel are interesting and important and potentially mutually beneficial.” The topics will include military exchanges and “such things as transparency and consistency and reciprocity with respect to the military-to-military relationship, things that I discussed with the vice president.” Rodman will visit Japan and the ROK on his way to the PRC. Larry Wortzel, a former US military attache in Beijing, stated, “The Chinese have one big goal. When [PRC President] Jiang Zemin comes to the United States in October, one of the military objectives is to have all Tiananmen sanctions on military sales lifted.” [Ed note: This article was included in the US Defense Department’s Early Bird news service for June 24].

12. PRC Separatist Movements

Reuters (Tamora Vidaillet, “HEAVY HAND SEEN FUELING TENSIONS IN CHINA NORTHWEST,” Kuqa, 06/24/02) reported that the PRC has blamed Uighurs separatists in Xinjiang Province for killing 162 people over the past decade and has linked some to Osama bin Laden, but many Western analysts see that as a bid to legitimize the PRC’s crackdown on dissent. According to officials in Xinjiang, there were around 7.5 million Han Chinese in the region in 2000, 40.6 percent of the 18.5 million population, while Uighurs numbered 8.1 million, or around 44 percent. An elderly Uighur was quoted as saying, “If a Han person says something against the government, he doesn’t get into trouble. If a Uighur says the same thing, he is arrested.” One unnamed Han businessman stated, “China is a big country with many types of people. The government has to make sure people are similar or the country will break apart.” Local officials said that Uighurs make up more than half the security apparatus in parts of Xinjiang and join in the crackdowns on independence activism and religious extremism. One Uighur man stated, “Uighurs are scared to talk in front of other Uighurs. The government gives Uighurs money for information. Many Uighurs have been rounded up and shot. Some are terrorists, others are innocent.” Elizabeth Van Wie Davis of the Honolulu-based Asia Pacific Center for Strategic Studies stated, “There are cases of genuine helping, but it’s definitely not an overall success. [The Chinese] have difficulty understanding people wanting to hold on to their own ethnic cultures.” Western analysts said that few Uighurs are prepared to resort to violence and that tight security, brightening economic prospects and a lack of a unified separatist movement would dampen the possibility of further unrest. Michael Dillon, director of the Center for Contemporary Chinese Studies at Britain’s Durham University, stated, “The Chinese obviously feel that what they’re doing, which is effectively imprisoning anybody suspected of separatist sympathies, is going to break down support for it. In fact what happens is that it fuels a strong family tradition of resistance and a cult of martyrs. I think that is what is happening.”

13. US Missile Defense

The Associated Press (Alan Fram, “SENATE MAY DEBATE PLAN TO CUT DLRS 800 MILLION FROM BUSH PLAN FOR NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE,” Washington, 06/25/02) reported that US Senate Republicans are prepared to fight a plan by Democrats to cut US$800 million from President George W. Bush’s proposal to develop a national missile defense system. The Senate is debating a measure that would authorize but not finance US$393 billion in military programs for next year. Bush has threatened to veto the bill if the missile funds are not restored. Bush has asked Congress for more than US$7.5 billion for next year for a missile defense system. Senator Byron Dorgan, Democrat-North Dakota, said during debate Monday, “We need to do a lot of everything that works in order to foil terrorism, not just missile defense.” Senator Jon Kyl, Republican- Arizona, said that the bill’s cuts “will seriously erode our ability to end … our unacceptable vulnerability to ballistic missile attack.”

II. Republic of Korea

1. DPRK Defectors

Joongang Ilbo (Oh Young-hwan, “BEIJING EMBASSIES CALM AGAIN AS ALL 26 DEFECTORS REACH SEOUL,” Seoul, 06/25/02) reported that 26 DPRK asylum- seekers arrived in the ROK Monday after the PRC allowed them to go to a third country. The DPRK refugees had sought asylum in the ROK and Canadian embassies in Beijing. A pair of defectors traveling from the Canadian mission arrived at Incheon International Airport at 6:10 a.m. from Singapore. Others, who had been in the ROK embassy, came along with a man who had been arrested by the Chinese police and arrived at 8:45 a.m. from Bangkok.

Joongang Ilbo (Oh Young-hwan, Yoo Kwang-jong, “26 DEFECTORS SENT TO THIRD COUNTRIES,” Beijing, 06/24/02) reported that the ROK and the PRC on Sunday reported that the PRC would hand over 26 DPRK defectors to the ROK by sending them to a third country. In a joint statement, each side expressed “regret” over the actions on June 13 by Chinese police, who entered the ROK Embassy compound in Beijing, an incident during which an ROK diplomat was injured. Right after the statement was released, PRC expelled 23 DPRK refugee holed up in the compound along with a another DPRK citizen identified only by the surname Won, who had been dragged out by Chinese civilian guards on June 13. They were allowed passage to Thailand. Earlier, PRC had expelled two DPRK refugees who were staying in the Canadian Embassy to Singapore. Analysts said that since this was the first time that DPRK defectors have successfully defected through the ROK Embassy, future attempts by small numbers of potential defectors via this method were very possible. The ROK and the PRC have agreed that they would handle future defectors according to Chinese law, international law and humanitarian principles.

Joongang Ilbo (“CAMP FOR DEFECTORS PLANNED IN MONGOLIA,” Seoul, 06/24/02) reported that Norbert Vollertsen, a German doctor crusading to help DPRK defectors, said Friday that he had reached an agreement with the Mongolian government to build a refugee camp for DPRK citizens. The camp would accommodate 1,200 persons. Vollertsen said that he had already collected some funds for the camp. He spoke in an interview with Radio Free Asia. To build the camps, he would renovate some Soviet military facilities on the border between the PRC and Mongolia or inside Mongolia. The radio broadcast said that Vollertsen would visit Mongolia to check the facilities at the end of June or in August. A DPRK defector’s support group said that the Mongolian government was hoping to receive investment and financial assistance for the project.

2. DPRK-US Relations

The Korea Times (Shim Jae-yun, “SEOUL WANTS ARMITAGE TO LEAD US SIDE FOR DIALOGUE WITH NK,” Seoul, 06/24/02) reported that ROK is expecting Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to replace Jack Pritchard, US point man on DPRK affairs, for future dialogue with the DPRK. “The higher, the better. This is the principle we have maintained regarding the resumption of the suspended dialogue between the US and DPRK,” said an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Upgrading the level of officials for the proposed dialogue was a bone of contention during the recently-ended Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group (TCOG) meeting on DPRK policy among officials from ROK, the US and Japan. ROK officials conveyed their stance to the US side during the tripartite meeting. “Given the decision-making mechanism in DPRK, it is better to raise the dialogue level to the highest one possible,” said the official. The US has been pressing for plans to see the proposed dialogue bear fruit without making it a nominal one. It said that it would not engage in meetings with DPRK only for the sake of dialogue.

3. US-ROK Relations

The Korea Herald (“PENTAGON OFFICIAL VISITS SEOUL,” Seoul, 06/25/02) reported that a senior US Defense Department official arrived in Seoul Monday for a two-day visit to discuss regional security and other matters of mutual concern between the two countries, ROK officials said. Peter Rodman, US assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, will meet Korean Defense Minister Kim Dong-shin and other senior military and diplomatic officials Tuesday. Defense Ministry officials said Rodman and ROK officials will discuss recent developments on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia and issues relating to the annual ROK-US Security Council Meeting to be held later this year. Rodman arrived from Japan and will leave today for PRC. [Ed note: This article was included in the US Defense Department’s Early Bird news service for June 25].

4. DPRK Reaction to World Cup

The Korea Times (Shim Jae-yun, “NK GIVES EQUIVOCAL TREATMENT TO SEOUL’S WORLD CUP SUCCESS,” Seoul, 06/24/02) reported that the DPRK has been showing an ambivalent attitude with regard to the ongoing World Cup finals. The DPRK has been broadcasting major games since the global football gala kicked off, but has been releasing no news related to the performance of the ROK team. Recently, the DPRK Embassy in Russia expressed pleasure over the ROK’s advancement into the quarterfinals, raising the hope that the ongoing World Cup fever will help promote inter-Korean relations. “Despite the seemingly equivocal attitude of North Korea toward the ongoing World Cup, the event will certainly help invigorate sluggish inter-Korean relations,” said an official at the Unification Ministry. ROK and DPRK football teams are set to engage in a friendly match in Seoul on September 8, an event that it is hoped will open the way for the two Koreas to expedite exchanges in the area of sports. The Los Angeles Times in its June 22 issue said the inter- Korean friendly match will serve as a litmus test for future relations between the two Koreas.

5. Post World Cup Plan

Chosun Ilbo (Kim Min-bai, “POST WORLD CUP MEASURES SOUGHT TO ENHANCE IMAGE,” Seoul, 06/25/02) reported that ROK government is coming up with post World Cup measures that could enhance the nation’s image through the successful hosting of the games, including a World Cup Memorial Hall, which will be constructed to house visual archives of matches that will be distributed worldwide. It will also use the World Cup games as an opportunity for the activation of soccer “diplomacy and exchange” and hopes to arrange permanent matches between the ROK, the PRC, and Japan, alongside games from professional leagues. Also, exchange with the DPRK will be promoted through matches with the DPRK. President Kim Dae-jung will discuss this with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on July 1 in a summit meeting and may negotiate with the PRC government as well. In addition, the government will aid early studies abroad and raise “soccer dream teams” at the elementary, middle, and high school level.

III. Japan

1. Koizumi’s Visit to Okinawa

Kyodo (“END OF BATTLE OF OKINAWA REMEMBERED 57 YEARS LATER,” Itoman, 06/24/02) reported that Okinawa Prefecture on Sunday marked the 57th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa. Okinawa Governor Keiichi Inamine urged the central government to resolve problems related to US bases in his prefecture. “The issue of the bases is one related to the security of Japan, and is a vital task that the entire Japanese people must tackle,” Inamine said at the ceremony. He was referring to a number of crimes and accidents that allegedly involve US soldiers stationed in Okinawa and to Status of Forces Agreement’s (SOFA) limitations on what the Japanese police can do when handling such incidents. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, meanwhile, resolved in his speech to make efforts to solve the problems. “The presence of the US military in Okinawa contributes significantly to peace and security, not only in Japan, but also in the Asia-Pacific region. But on the other hand, it is true the concentration of (US military) facilities is a heavy burden on the people in the prefecture,” he said. The prime minister also said the government will soon draft a plan to boost economic activity in Okinawa and help it achieve self-sustaining economic growth. Neither Inamine nor Koizumi, however, mentioned anything about the bills on war contingencies. During the ceremony, a participant angry about the government-proposed war legislation shouted at Koizumi that he should not be attending the ceremony.

2. Japan Domestic Politics

The Asahi Shimbun (“ONLY 37% SUPPORT CABINET,” Tokyo, 06/24/02) reported that a mere 37 percent of voters support the administration led by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, down sharply from the 78 percent registered immediately after Koizumi assumed office 14 months ago, a poll by the Asahi Shimbun showed Sunday. Forty-six percent said they do not support the Cabinet. Fifty-three percent do not believe the Liberal Democratic Party could win with Koizumi at the helm if a Lower House election is held soon. This contrasts with 61 percent who were optimistic in a poll conducted in April last year. About 2,000 eligible voters responded to the survey, conducted randomly by telephone across the nation over the weekend.

3. Overseas A-Bomb Survivors

Kyodo (“HIBAKUSHA-SURVEY TEAM HEADS TO NORTH KOREA,” Hiroshima, 06/24/02) reported that a private research delegation left Hiroshima on Sunday for the DPRK to survey survivors of the August 1945 atomic bomb attacks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is the first time that a private research team has visited there to survey the condition of A-bomb survivors, some of whom were forced laborers. The delegation is led by lawyer Kenichi Takagi and includes Lee Sil-gun, chairman of the association of Korean atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima Prefecture. They will meet with Chon Jong-hyok, secretary general of an A-bomb survivors’ association, and Korean survivors there. They are also expected to visit a radiation research institute during their stay. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, meanwhile, was supposed to have started a support project this month for such survivors abroad. The project is to shoulder travel costs for visits to Japan to treat aftereffects. The start of the project, however, has been delayed due to opposition from groups of A-bomb survivors in the ROK and Brazil. They say it would be difficult for the elderly to make the trips to Japan. Chon also indicated that Korean survivors should not visit Japan for medical treatment under the plan. “First, the Japanese government should offer an apology and provide compensation,” he said.

The Asahi Shimbun (“JAPAN, MARSHALL ISLANDERS TEAM UP TO BUILD MEMORIAL ON BIKINI ATOLL,” 06/24/02) reported that fund-raising efforts are under way in Japan and in the Marshall Islands for construction of a peace memorial museum supporters hope to build by 2004 to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1954 testing at Bikini Atoll and the Marshall Islands to help those who survived the US nuclear weapons test there. The group promoting the project includes survivors of the No. 5 Fukuryu Maru (Lucky Dragon), a tuna trawler caught in the March 1954 bomb test fallout at Bikini atoll, as well as islanders, survivors of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki in 1945, and photographers. At the spring memorial ceremony, Matashichi Oishi, 68, one of the 23 crew members aboard the Lucky Dragon now living in Tokyo, noted, “The US military said at that time that they needed a place to conduct nuclear tests as the means of stopping wars in the world. But the world has not attained peace.”

4. Japanese Educational Access

Yomiuri Shimbun (“STATE-RUN UNIVERSITIES URGED TO RELAX NATIONALITY CLAUSE,” 06/24/02) reported that the Association of National Universities has urged state universities to scrap nationality clauses from their admission criteria. Many state-run universities, as well as some private universities, have long had a quota system for accepting applications to take entrance examinations from prospective students with high school diplomas obtained while living abroad, but this policy is restricted to Japanese citizens. The association has urged state-run universities to widen their criteria to include permanent residents of Korean descent under certain conditions, sources said, including a prerequisite stipulating that they spend a set number of years at overseas high schools in obtaining their diplomas.

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Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

John McKay: John.McKay@adm.monash.edu.au< /a>
Clayton, Australia

 


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