NAPSNET Week in Review 31 January, 2003

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United States


1. UN Nuclear Agency Emergency Meeting

An emergency board meeting of the U.N. nuclear monitoring agency likely will take place on February 12 to pass the DPRK nuclear crisis to the Security Council, the agency head said Friday. Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, said he hoped the meeting of the IAEA’s board of governors would take place on that date despite some disagreement among key member states on when to hold it. “We’re still aiming for the 12th,” ElBaradei said. “I think it’s important that we meet.” Key members of the agency gathered Thursday in Vienna to hammer out a date for the meeting.
“DPRK Yongbyon Fuel Rod Movement” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 31, US)


2. Global Response to US State of the Union Address

US President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address was well-received in Australia and ROK, but there were fears elsewhere in Asia that the rhetoric was leading inevitably to war on Iraq. Asian share markets fell as concern about the impact of a war on Iraq were reinforced by the hawkish tone of the speech. The Nikkei-225 average of the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 194.31 points or 2.28 percent to close at 8,331.08. Australian Prime Minister John Howard welcomed Bush’s announcement that more intelligence information about Iraq’s weapons programme would be supplied to the UN Security Council by Secretary of State Colin Powell on February 5. There was no official comment from the ROK government, a senior foreign ministry official said Bush’s remarks on the DPRK were “balanced and restrained.” A spokesman for Philippines President Gloria Arroyo said war was “imminent” in Iraq. In Jakarta, foreign affairs analyst at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences Riza Sihbudi said Bush appears to see no other choice but war against Iraq. The Indian Express urged the US to present evidence Iraq has banned weapons, saying the Bush administration has hurt its own case by offering multiple motives for action against Saddam Hussein.
“Global Response to US State of the Union Address” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 29, US)


Korean Peninsula


1. DPRK Yongbyon Fuel Rod Movement

US spy satellites over the DPRK have detected what appear to be trucks moving the country’s stockpile of 8,000 nuclear fuel rods out of storage. Throughout January, intelligence analysts have seen extensive activity at the Yongbyon nuclear complex, with some trucks pulling up to the building housing the storage pond. While the satellites could not see exactly what was being put into the trucks, analysts concluded that it was likely that workers were transporting the rods to another site, either to get them out of sight, or to move them to a reprocessing plant to convert them into bomb-grade plutonium.
“DPRK Yongbyon Fuel Rod Movement” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 31, US)
“US Response to DPRK Fuel Rod Movement” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 31, US)


2. DPRK-ROK Relations

An ROK envoy has returned from the DPRK without holding talks with the DPRK leader Kim Jong-il. ROK presidential envoy Lim Dong-won, arriving back in Seoul, said his DPRK hosts told him Kim was on a regional tour. This dashed hopes that the ROK delegation could help resolve a nuclear crisis over the DPRK’s withdrawal this month from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The solution to the dispute would be a “very long and gradual process,” Lim stated. But Lim said the two sides had made progress on the issue of cross-border links. He said a railway linking the DPRK and the ROK should now be completed by March. On Wednesday, the DPRK repeated its call for direct talks and a non-aggression pact with the US.
“ROK-DPRK Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 30, US)
“DPRK-ROK Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 29, US)
“DPRK-ROK Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 29, PRC)


3. DPRK on Multilateral Talks

Blaming the current impasse on deceit and hostility by the Bush administration, a DPRK diplomat today renewed Pyongyang’s demand for direct negotiations with the US on nuclear weapons. Speaking in Beijing, Choe Jin Su, DPRK ambassador to Beijing, rejected US proposals to take the issue to the United Nations. “We will never participate in any form of international talks” on our nuclear programs, he told reporters. The US wants the DPRK’s compliance with nuclear agreements to be discussed at the United Nations Security Council, which would have the legal power to impose economic sanctions if violations were found. But the DPRK opposes United Nations involvement and has warned that it would regard sanctions as tantamount to an act of war.
“DPRK on Multilateral Talks” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 31, US)
“DPRK-US Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 29, PRC)


4. DPRK’s View to Neighbor’s Mediation
The said Friday it could accept mediation by neighbors to resolve the nuclear crisis, shifting from its stand that the only solution could come via direct talks with the US. “We can review mediation offers from neighboring countries,” DPRK Foreign Ministry official Oh Sung Chul told Friday’s edition of the Chosun Sinbo, a Korean-Japanese newspaper. “It is a good thing if our neighboring countries look at the nature of this matter and play positive roles,” the newspaper quoted him as saying. DPRK’s View to Neighbor’s Mediation (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 29, Japan)


5. DPRK Official Response to US State of the Union Address

The DPRK’s foreign ministry has described US President George W Bush’s State of the Union address as an “undisguised declaration of aggression”. Bush was also described as a “shameless charlatan” in the DPRK’s first official response to Bush’s speech on Tuesday. In its statement, the DPRK said: “This policy speech is, in essence, an undisguised declaration of aggression to topple our system.”
“DPRK Official Response to US State of the Union Address” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 30, US)
“DPRK response to US State of the Union Address” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 29, US)


6. ROK-DPRK “Check Book” Diplomacy

ROK government investigators have said that US$200 million was secretly transferred from a state-controlled bank to the DPRK one week before a landmark inter-Korean summit in June 2000. The summit was seen as a boost for outgoing President Kim Dae-jung’s policy of engagement with the DPRK, but critics have dismissed the historic meeting as check-book diplomacy. The government investigators’ report was the culmination of a three-month inquiry into loans granted to the ROK conglomerate Hyundai. Kim, who has previously denied knowing about Hyundai’s dealings with the DPRK, appeared to acknowledge the report’s findings on Thursday when his spokeswoman said that the money was justified “if (it) was spent on promoting South-North economic co-operation”.
“ROK Secret DPRK Funds Transfer” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 31, US)
“ROK-DPRK “Check Book” Diplomacy” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 30, US)


7. DPRK-US Relations

While the DPRK has sent messages in every way it knows how that it wants direct talks with the US, Bush administration officials are flatly refusing, holding fast to the view that the DPRK should be dealt with multilaterally, either by a group of its neighbors or by the United Nations Security Council. “This is not a US-DPRK problem,” a high-ranking US official said here today. “It is very important that the multilateral process start.” Before too long, he added, the US will get the issue on the way to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Security Council. The atomic energy agency board of governors is expected to meet in Vienna in February to decide whether the DPRK’s expulsion of inspectors and sabotaging of surveillance equipment merits forwarding the case to the Security Council. On Wednesday, January 29, the DPRK demanded that the US withdraws all its nuclear weapons from the ROK– an action the US says it carried out 12 years ago. The demand appeared to be the latest attempt to portray the US as the real military threat in the crisis over the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program. “The US should immediately withdraw nuclear weapons from South Korea,” the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said quoting state newspapers.
“DPRK-US Diplomacy” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 30, US)
US Policy on DPRK Issues (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 29, Japan)
“DPRK US Nuke Withdrawal Demand” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 29, US)


8. ROK on US DPRK Economic Sanctions

ROK President-elect Roh Moo-hyun said in a television interview Thursday that he opposes imposing U.N. sanctions on the DPRK in an attempt to resolve the current nuclear standoff. Speaking to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, Roh did not explain why he was against the idea of the U.N. Security Council leveling sanctions against the DPRK. But he said he didn’t agree with sanctions or military intervention. “I don’t agree with talk about sanctions or use of force,” Roh said, when asked whether he would support calls for the council to implement them.
“ROK on US DPRK Economic Sanctions” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 30, US)


9. DPRK-Russia Relations

Kim Jong-il, top leader of the DPRK met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov on January 20. Losyukov delivered a message by Russian President Vladimir Putin on how to resolve the nuclear crisis to Kim , who said he would give his reaction to the message later. Kim and Losyukov talked about bilateral ties and railway construction along the eastern coast of the DPRK during the talks, the report said.
“DPRK-Russia Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 29, PRC)


10. DPRK Energy Crisis

Trains run irregularly and power frequently goes out at factories in the DPRK because of an acute energy shortage, the DPRK’s official media said Thursday. Operation of trolley buses, streetcars and subway trains in the capital, Pyongyang, are also suffering from the energy shortage, the Korean Central News Agency said. Trains stop at “irregular intervals” and cause an “interminable vicious cycle” by impeding the transportation of coal to power plants, the report said. “Restaurants, bathhouses and other public services cannot satisfy people’s demand,” it said. “The limited power supply to residential quarters interferes with the people’s cultural and emotional life.” The North has acknowledged its energy woes in the past, but Thursday’s report was the most extensive description of the shortage since tensions over its nuclear weapons program began to rise in October.
“DPRK Energy Crisis” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 30, US)


People’s Republic of China


1. PRC-US Relations

PRC Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Guangya and US Under Secretary of State John Bolton held the first round of consultations at the vice-foreign ministerial level on strategic security, multilateral arms control and non-proliferation in Beijing on January 20. The two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on the current situation of strategic security, international arms control and non-proliferation as well as the Iraq issue and the nuclear issue of the DPRK. The two sides agreed that the consultations helped promote mutual understanding and agreed to continue dialogues on the above-mentioned issues. PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan met US Secretary of State Colin Powell on January 19 in New York. Tang sees a positive trend of development of PRC-US relations and said the two sides should continue to implement the consensus reached last October during a meeting in Crawford, Texas, between Chinese President Jiang Zemin and his US counterpart, George W. Bush.
“PRC-US Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 29, PRC)


2. PRC DPRK Refugee Crackdown

USA Today (David J. Lynch, “CHINA TRIES TO STAUNCH INFLUX OF NORTH KOREANS,” TUMEN,” China, 01/31/03) reported that the PRC is in the midst of a harsh crackdown on DPRK refugees. Over the past two months, more than 3,200 DPRK asylum seekers have been seized inside the PRC along the wintry border with the DPRK and forcibly repatriated, according to the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders. An additional 1,300 are awaiting their forced return in two PRC detention camps, including one near here that has its walls painted an incongruous pink. “Almost every day, they’re arresting North Koreans and sending them back to brutal persecution,” says Kim Sang Hun, a refugee activist in Seoul. “On the Korean issue, China is a status-quo power,” says Chu Shulong of Tsinghua University in Beijing. “China does not want to see a hostile or chaotic North Korea.”
“PRC DPRK Refugee Crackdown” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 31, US)


3. PRC-Russian Ties

PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and his Russian counterpart, Igor Ivanov, held talks in the UN on January 20 on issues of bilateral relations, tensions over Iraq and the Korean Peninsula. Speaking highly of the positive trend of the PRC-Russia relations, Tang said PRC is willing to work with Russia to implement the PRC-Russia friendship treaty and other agreements reached between leaders of the two countries to push forward the bilateral ties. Ivanov agreed with Tang on the assessment of bilateral relations and stressed that Russia will continue its efforts to maintain the current positive trend in bilateral links. As to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, Tang said both PRC and Russia stand for the maintenance of regional peace and stability, a nuclear-free peninsula and a peaceful settlement to the issue through dialogue.
“PRC-Russian Ties” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 29, PRC)


4. PRC Domestic Democratization

The PRC’s top leaders have hinted they may make themselves open to public scrutiny, amid mounting concern that official corruption is eroding the ruling Communist Party’s authority. A meeting of the party’s key Politburo decided that officials at all levels, especially Politburo members, should submit to public supervision, according to the official People’s Daily. No further details were given, though the report pointed out that the meeting was presided over by new party chief Hu Jintao. The move, if confirmed, would be the clearest sign yet that the country’s new generation of leaders, promoted last year, is prepared to tackle subjects that have been taboo since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.
“PRC Domestic Democratization” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 29, US)


5. PRC on Iraq Weapons Inspections

The PRC appealed Tuesday for more time for UN weapons inspections in Iraq, arguing against taking any action while there is a possibility of a political settlement. “We maintain that no conclusion should be jumped to at this stage,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue. Speaking at a regular press briefing, Zhang stressed that the inspectors’ report Monday to the U.N. Security Council asked for more time to complete their work. The PRC has said it sees no reason to endorse US pressure to attack Iraq. The PRC has pressed instead for a negotiated settlement through the Security Council.
“PRC on Iraq Weapons Inspections” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 29, US)


6. PRC US Falun Gong Imprisonment

The Washington Post (Philip P. Pan, “CHINA JAILS US CITIZEN, ALLEGING FALUN GONG ‘SABOTAGE,'” Beijing, 01/31/03) reported that PRC police have arrested a US citizen visiting relatives in China on charges he sabotaged radio and television systems in behalf of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, US officials said today. Charles Li, 37, a businessman and Falun Gong activist from Menlo Park, California, was arrested January 24 immediately after arriving in the southern city of Guangzhou on a flight from California, friends said. Police transferred him two days later to a jail in Yangzhou, a small city about 100 miles northwest of Shanghai. A US consular official was allowed to visit Li on Wednesday and reported that he appeared to be in good health, a spokeswoman for the US Embassy said. She said PRC authorities have charged him with “sabotage of radio and television broadcast systems in Yangzhou.” The PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Zhang Qiyue, said Li damaged public facilities and disturbed the lives of PRC citizens. “Those who damage China’s public facilities will definitely be investigated and punished.”
“PRC US Falun Gong Imprisonment” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 31, US)
“PRC US Citizen Detainment” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 30, US)


7. PRC-Japan Economic Relations

Japan remained the PRC’s largest source of imports in 2002, ranked ahead of the European Union and Taiwan, state media reports, citing General Administration of Customs figures. Imports from Japan to the PRC rose 25% on year to $53.47 billion in 2002, against a rise in exports of 8% on year to $48.44 billion, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday. That resulted in a $5.03 billion trade surplus in favor of Japan, a turnaround from a $2.16 billion deficit in 2001 when two-way trade was affected by the PRC’s ban on imported Japanese autos, air conditioners and mobile hand sets.
“PRC-Japan Economic Relations” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 30, US)


8. PRC AIDS Situation

As the AIDS virus continues to spread throughout the PRC, survey findings show that most of the population does not know what causes the disease or how to prevent it. Some-about 17%–had never even heard of it. The PRC government estimates that 850,000 of the PRC’s nearly 1.3 billion people are currently infected with HIV. It’s predicted that as many as 10 million people could be infected by 2010. The findings, based on a December 2000 in-home survey of about 7,000 people ages 15 to 49, revealed that 17% of respondents had never heard of HIV. Of those who had, 73% did not know it was a virus, and 89% did not know how it can be detected. And while 91% of these respondents knew that HIV can be transmitted, 22% could not identify even one route of transmission, such as sexual intercourse or needle-sharing.
“PRC AIDS Situation” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 30, US)


Japan


1. Japan-US-ROK Cooperation Over DPRK Issues

Japan and the US agreed Friday that they and ROK should consult closely with each other in dealing with the standoff over DPRK’s development of nuclear weapons if and when the UN Security Council takes it up. In a meeting at the Foreign Ministry, Foreign Minister, Yoriko Kawaguchi and visiting US Undersecretary of State John Bolton agreed on the need to resolve the crisis peacefully through diplomatic measures, ministry officials. Kawaguchi said the nuclear issue should be “calmly and carefully” dealt with in the event the Security Council decides to hold discussions, reflecting Japan’s reluctance to step up pressure on DPRK.
Japan-US-ROK Cooperation Over DPRK Issues (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 29, Japan)


2. Japan’s Debate on Pre-emptive Strike

Japan’s war-renouncing Constitution does not prohibit it from requesting a pre-emptive attack against DPRK’s ballistic missile bases if weapons are targeted at Japan and there is no other way for the country to defend itself, Japan’s government ministers told a key Diet panel session on Friday. Shigeru Ishida, director general of the Defense Agency, also told the Douse of Representatives Budget Committee that Japan does not currently have the military capability to conduct pre-emptive attacks against a foreign country. “We will consider the start (of a military attack on Japan)if (a foreign country) expresses an intention to demolish Tokyo and starts fueling its missiles to realize that,” Ishida told the committee. Japan’s Foreign Minister, Yoriko Kawaguchi, who also attended the session, agreed with Ishiba’s interpretation of the Constitution, citing statements made to the Diet by past Defense Agency heads that striking missile bases in foreign countries is within the legal framework of self-defense. She added that under the Japan-US security treaty, the US would deal with such a situation after consultations with Japan because the pact obliges the US to protect Japan should it be attacked by a foreign country.
Japan’s Debate on Pre-emptive Strike (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 29, Japan)


3. Possibility of Japan’s Nuclear Option

Shizuka Kamei, a senior lawmaker of the ruking Liberal Democratic Party, scoffed Thursday at speculation that Japan may seek its own atomic arsenal in response to DPRK’s nuclear arms programs. With DPRK admitting it has a uranium enrichment program for nuclear weapons and restarting operations of facilities believed to be capable of developing plutonium-based nuclear weapons, there has been growing talk in the US about the possibility of Japan arming itself with nuclear weapons. “We should never repeat what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” said Kamei, a former LDP policy chief. Asked about the possibility of Japan building a nuclear arsenal, Kamei said, “I believe firmly that Japan should not possess nuclear weapons.”
“Possibility of Japan’s Nuclear Option” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 29, Japan)


4. Japan on Possible US Attack on Iraq

Taku Yamasaki, secretary general of Japan’s governing Liberal Democratic Party, suggested that Japan may cooperate with the US if it decides to attack Iraq without a UN resolution. Appearing on a Sunday talk show on TV Asahi, Yamasaki expressed concern over what might happen if deliberations bog down and the US attempts to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein without a UN endorsement. But Yamasaki added that there must be clear evidence that Iraq is engaged in developing weapons of mass destruction, and that such a decision should be made by the International Atomic Energy Association.
“Japan on Possible US Attack on Iraq” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 30, US)


5. Japan Defense Bills

Faced with the growing threat of the DPRK, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi pledged Thursday to pass controversial legislation aimed at bolstering national defense by the end of the current Parliament session. The defense bills, a key element of Koizumi’s policy platform, were stymied in last year’s Parliament by opponents who said they trampled civil rights and gave too much power to the Japanese military. But Koizumi’s spokeswoman, Misako Kaji, said the dual threats of terrorism and the DPRK underline the urgency of making the bills law this time around. The legislation intends to outline the government’s role and responsibility in case Japan comes under attack from terrorists or foreign nations, something largely left untouched by post-World War II leaders fearful of being tarred as militarists.
“Japan Defense Bills” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 30, US)
“Japanese Military Emergency Bill” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 30, US)


6. Japan Role in Anti-Terror War

Japan will dispatch two more military vessels early next month in support of the US-led campaign in Afghanistan against remnants of the Taliban and al-Qaida, a defense agency spokesman said Thursday. Japan will send its transport vessel Shimokita and destroyer Ikazuchi to ferry Thai military personnel and construction machinery to repair a US air base in Afghanistan, said the Japanese defense agency spokesman on condition of anonymity. Japan’s logistical support for the US military-led campaign began in November 2001, when it sent a fleet of ships to the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea to transport fuel and supplies to US vessels.
“Japan Role in Anti-Terror War” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 30, US)


7. Japan’s Crisis Management Plan

A Japanese Foreign Ministry advisory panel on ministry reforms agreed to think about reviewing its crisis-management system, according to the head of the panel. The panel agreed to consider the issue after members asked whether the deputy vice foreign minister, who is also in charge of crisis management at the ministry, would be able to respond to a crisis on a 24-hour basis over a long period, according to Yoshihiko Miyauchi, who is also chairman of Orix Corp. Panel members believe North Koreans and Japanese nationals fleeing DPRK could become a major problem, Miyauchi said.
“Japan’s Crisis Management Plan” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 31, Japan)


8. SDF’s Landmine

Japan will finish disposing of antipersonnel land mines held by the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) on Feb. 8, in line with the Ottawa Treaty, Tetsuro Yano, senior vice foreign minister, said. In line with the treaty, Japan was required to dispose of the SDF’s roughly 1 million land mines by the end of February. A ceremony marking the completion of the land-mine disposal will be held at an Air Self-Defense Force base in Shinasahi, Shiga Prefecture, Yano said. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will attend.
“SDF’s Landmine” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 31, Japan)


9. US Bases in Japan

The aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk left from the US Navy base in Yokosuka to monitor the Korean Peninsula, navy sources said. The sources said the 83,960-ton Kitty Hawk is expected to stand by off Japan, given increasing tensions in North and South Korea following DPRK’s announcement of its withdrawal from an international nuclear accord, and will not head for Iraq. According to the navy sources, the US has yet to issue orders for the Kitty Hawk to be involved in a possible attack on Iraq. A local citizens’ group protested the move, raising a banner reading, “Don’t Kill,” on a pleasure boat.
“US Bases in Japan” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 31, Japan)


10. DPRK-Japan Espionage

The only ferry that travels between Japan and the DPRK has been used for spying purposes, according to Japanese police and intelligence sources. The captain of the DPRK ferry relayed espionage orders to a 72-year-old DPRK who was living in Japan, Japanese intelligence said. Japanese police said they were preparing to launch a prosecution case against the man on charges of using a false identity. The man was in charge of a spy network which gathered intelligence on the ROK and recruited collaborators, police said. “We have found out that the man in question was engaged in espionage activities in one form or another for at least eight years after 1993 with directives carried on the North Korean ferry,” one intelligence source reported. The source said there were several hundred people spying for the DPRK in Japan, and at least 70 DPRK agents had been arrested since the 1950-53 Korean War.
“DPRK-Japan Espionage” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 29, US)


11. SDF’s Anti-terrorist Drill

The Japanese Defense Agency has conducted a drill involving geographic scenarios to prepare for the possibility of terrorist attacks involving biochemical weapons, Defense Agency sources said. The drill was the first of its kind to include participation by all three forces comprising the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and the agency headquarters. Parts of the drill apparently reflected concerns about the DPRK, which is suspected of possessing biochemical weapons, the sources said. According to the sources, the exercise was carried out on the assumption that a number of citizens had been infected with smallpox and anthrax spread by terrorists. The agency is also considering conducting a drill that would involve actual mobilization of SDF personnel and equipment.
“SDF’s Anti-terrorist Drill” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 31, Japan)


12. JSF’s New Chairman

Toru Ishikawa, chief of staff of the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF), will replace Shoji Takegouchi as chairman of the Joint Staff Council (JSF) of the Self-Defense Forces, the Defense Agency announced. Ishikawa, 58, joined the MSDF in 1967 after graduating from the National Defense Academy. He served in posts such as commander of the MSDF’s Sasebo District in Nagasaki Prefecture before taking his current position in March 2001. The council consists of the chiefs of staff of the Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defense Forces and is tasked with coordinating the three forces.
“JSF’s New Chairman” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 30, US)


13. Japan-US Joint Drill

Local defense and police personnel, and US Navy firefighters stationed at Yokosuka base, participated in drills involving simulated chemical attacks by terrorists. The participants worked together to deal with a scenario in which sarin nerve gas was released inside a hotel, causing health problems to scores of guests. The Ground Self-Defense Force, Kanagawa Prefectural Police and the US Navy’s fire brigade stationed at the base participated.

“Japan-US Joint Drill” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 30, US)


14. Japan HIV Increase

The Associated Press (“JAPAN’S HIV CASES ROSE IN LAST 3 MONTHS OF 2002,” Tokyo, 01/31/03) reported that a total of 5,121 people in Japan had tested positive for HIV through December, an increase of 139 from three months earlier, Japan’s health authorities said Friday. Most of the new cases, or 77, were transmitted via homosexual contact, said Makoto Iwakura, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. An additional 45 people contracted HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, through heterosexual contact. There were no reported cases of transmission through infected needles in Japan, where drug use is relatively rare. Also during the October-December period, 61 HIV-positive people developed full-blown AIDS, bringing Japan’s total number of AIDS patients to 2,549, Iwakura said. Four other patients died from AIDS in the period, he added. Critics say actual numbers of HIV-infected patients in Japan are likely much higher, because many people shy away from being tested for the disease to avoid facing discrimination. The ministry’s committee on AIDS surveillance began meeting every three months to compile statistics in 1984, when Japan’s first AIDS patient was diagnosed.
“Japan HIV Increase” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 31, US)


15. Ehime Maru Final Settlement

The Associated Press (Mari Yamaguchi, “JAPAN SUB VICTIMS SETTLE WITH NAVY,” Tokyo, 01/31/03) reported that the last two families of the 35 people on a Japanese fishing boat that was accidentally hit and sunk by a US submarine settled with the Navy on Friday. The settlement, signed at the US Embassy in Tokyo, ends all negotiations over compensation from the accident, said Makoto Toyoda, a lawyer representing the two families. Nine people were killed when the Ehime Maru sank on Feb. 9, 2001 after the USS Greeneville smashed into it during a surfacing maneuver. There were 35 high school students, teachers and crew aboard. Friday’s signing brings the total settlement paid to the families of the nine victims and 26 survivors to US$16.5 million, the US Navy said in a statement. The figure includes a combined package of US$13 million for the other 33 families signed in November. Toyoda refused to disclose the amount paid to the two last families. Kyodo News reported that the amount roughly matched that of the others.
“Ehime Maru Final Settlement” (NAPSNet Daily Report, January 31, US)

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