(UPDATE: In case you didn’t notice, Japan got totally SLAMMED by NK in these articles)
NKorea slams Japan over kidnap issue
Tue Mar 10, 9:56 am ET
SEOUL (AFP) – North Korea accused Japan Tuesday of raising an outcry over the abduction of its civilians in an attempt to find a pretext for recolonising the peninsula.
The North said its military would launch a “merciless” strike on Japan if the former colonial power “dare pre-empt an attack” on the communist country.
The warning came as relatives of a Japanese woman kidnapped by North Korea arrived in South Korea in an attempt to clarify her fate.
Japan, which colonised the Korean peninsula 1910-1945, is trying to find an “absurd” excuse to realise its ambitions for re-invasion, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said in a commentary, without referring to the case of Yaeko Taguchi.
“Japan’s noisy and disturbing trumpeting about ‘the abduction issue’ is nothing but a prelude to its operation to stage a comeback to Korea,” the agency said.
Taguchi‘s family will meet Kim Hyun-Hee, a pardoned former spy for the North, in the southern city of Busan on Wednesday.
Taguchi’s elder brother Shigeo Iizuka, 70, and her son, Koichi Iizuka, 32, arrived in Busan along with Japanese officials, Yonhap news agency said.
Pyongyang has admitted kidnapping Taguchi in 1978 when she was 22 to train its spies, but said she died in a car crash in July 1986.
But the ex-spy Kim, who had taken Japanese lessons from Taguchi, has said in interviews with local media that Taguchi was alive until at least 1987.
The article makes it sound like the North is plainly spitting in the face of the abduction victim families. But not even North Korea is that tone-deaf. No, their style is much more Norimitsu Onishi than Cruella DeVille. The actual KCNA story says nothing about the PR efforts of the abduction victims and concentrates only the recent statement of someone we’ve covered here before:
KCNA Slams Japanese Militarists’ Agitation of War
Tamogami, former chief of staff of the Air “Self-Defense Force”, in a recent lecture given on the subject of “the abduction issue”, let loose a spate of reckless remarks calling on Japan to “take the posture of attacking north Korea by mobilizing the SDF.”
These are unpardonable outbursts which can be heard only from a man who is hell-bent on the moves to escalate the confrontation with the DPRK and start a war against it.
As well known to the world, Tamogami is a wicked Right-wing reactionary cursed and censured at home and abroad for having spoken for the Japanese militarist forces of late.
What he uttered is peppered with a spate of sophism intended to turn Japan into a military power and realize overseas expansion let loose by the successive Japanese reactionaries ranging from reckless remarks shamelessly whitewashing their past war of aggression to outbursts claiming access to nuclear weapons and the exercise of the “right to collective self-defense.”
Tomogami’s utterances indicate that the Japanese reactionaries’ wild ambition to conquer the Korean Peninsula and other countries in Asia and the rest of the world has reached an extreme phase. This is not only a blatant challenge to the DPRK’s sovereignty but a serious threat to the peace and security of Asia.
The provocative jargon let loose by Tamogami suffices to prove that he is an offspring of those who advocated the militarization of the Japanese society and the process to turn it reactionary and an icon of militarist Japan bereft of the normal way of thinking and off the track of normal development.
The AFP sees a timing decision in this KCNA story, but I am sure the KCNA editors would argue that Tamogami’s timing is too perfect as he is raising his voice at a time of heightened tensions and on a day when the morning news shows all feature the tearful meeting between the plane bomber and the abduction victims. Here is what he said during the February 28 speech specifically on the abduction issue to 250 people at an event sponsored by a “citizens’ group” in Nagoya:
“The abduction issue will not be resolved unless we show (North Korea) a posture that we will beat you to a pulp, even if we have to mobilize the Self Defense Forces.”… When asked specifically what he meant by “beat you to a pulp,” he stated, “North Korea will not budge unless we show the posture that we will use the Self Defense Forces to attack.”
Interestingly, Teruaki Masumoto, secretary general of the abductee families association and younger brother of an abductee, seemed to agree with Tamogami: “If we could mobilize our Self Defense Force in the same manner as other countries, we could have sunk the spy ships and considerably lessened the number of abductees.”
That North Korea is the detested rogue state that actually perpetrated the kidnappings (and likely murdered/forced suicide on many of them, all under state sponsorship) goes without saying. Nothing can be more absurd than the KCNA’s fantasy of having credibility on this issue, or on just about any issue for that matter. But while it is always perilous to see North Korea’s side of any debate, I want to emphasize two things:
- This insistence on characterizing the most radical right wing elements in Japan as the voice of an influential group who could incite warlike rage in the Japanese populace at a moment’s notice is typical of many “liberal” Japan observers, and it’s no less wrong when they do it. If anything, the far right engages in guerrilla PR tactics to wedge the Japanese government toward one policy or another. That is hardly the image of a group that’s in control. It’s one of the ultimate arguments to keep Japan a weakened client state and it’s a powerful one at that.
- To that end, the abduction victims’ movement doesn’t seem to be helping assuage such concerns. Have the victims’ groups ever met a right-wing demagogue they didn’t like? You have to wonder how far they are willing to take their campaign to prioritize this issue over a possible nuclear showdown. Far from denouncing Tamogami’s comment, the groups appear to be welcoming him into the fold (perhaps a smart move for someone with right-wing political ambitions). On March 6, a week after the controversial comment, leaders of two such groups joined Tamogami for a rally to save the abduction victims. His speech title: “Correct Historical Recognition and the Abduction Issue.”
25 thoughts on “For once, North Korea has a point – what IS Tamogami doing teaming up with the abductee families?”
“No, their style is much more Norimitsu Onishi than Cruella DeVille. ”
Zee,that’s even bad.
The situation was predictable for the founding member group were formed by former editorial member of the “Gendai Korea Institution”.
I can go on,but I’m all tied up for the moment….
I can understand pretty well what Tamogami and the victims association are getting from each other: credibility and publicity. I can also understand why the right wingers, such as Tamogami, and the abductee victim family association are insisting that there are still survivors in NK, despite any real evidence: the families are deluding themselves based on the faintest shred of evidence their relative may still be alive, and the right wingers get to accuse NK of lying about something that they might actually not be lying about.
I mean, I don’t want to give the DPRK government the benefit of the doubt, but let’s be real. Look at the “evidence” that NK is lying about Taeko Higuchi’s death.
Which scenario is more likely:
A) This one guy misremembers the date he saw some lady 22 years ago thinking that it was in fact 23 years ago and that the lady-who has definitely not been spotted since 1987-is actually dead.
B) This one guy saw her in 1987, remembered the exact date despite never having seen her since, noone else has even reported seeing her since 1987, and the NK government is covering up something or other, but nobody knows what.
I find this idea that Japan will colonize NK hilarious – Japan wouldn’t take NK if they were giving it away. I doubt that SK would want it either…. Being a $hithole is NK’s best defense.
Sakigake, just because the American mainstream left embraces militarism doesn’t mean that they bay at the moon and eat babies and stuff.
The problem with the Japanese right isn’t that they are trying to wield military power, it is that they mix their often logical ideas (rachi was bad) with racism and abrasive rhetoric that serves no point.
Piss off North Korea to the point of them not talking to Japan = nobody saved
Attacking NK and trying to bring back rachi victims = impossible
The only way to help any survivors would be to find a way to deepen engagement and the right are the biggest obstacle to that. Cooperating with China would be a big step, but the right hate the Chinese too.
“I can understand pretty well what Tamogami and the victims association are getting from each other: credibility and publicity. ”
Or maybe the victims association is opening doors of all people regardless of ideology and nationality,yet is is alway the Japanese rightwinger knocking on their doors.
“I can also understand why the right wingers, such as Tamogami, and the abductee victim family association are insisting that there are still survivors in NK, despite any real evidence”
Really? Where did you find out about this? You knew I was looking for the news last week….
Joking aside,It had been the true believers and VFA who uncovered many facts and evidences which materialized in 2002.Something the mainstream medias/liberals/lefts and foreigners had been ignoring.
So far Pyongyang has been refusing any investigation by the Japanese authorities within North Korea nor interrogation to the abduction suspects.Added to this,all they have sended was a tiny piece of bone which cannot be indentified as the belonging of the victim,plus their death has taken highly suspicious circumstances.Which will only result case not closed in any country.You know this,Roy.
If the abductees were taken to be served as the intelligence agency as many had suggested,there are more than rational reason on the side of NK,not to have them returned ot Japan.
Besides,I’m always impressed with VFA members holding their grudge to the Koreans in general.
While I’m not the supporter of M-Bone’s idea on “Chinese cooperation,a big step”.
I’d say Tamogami showing up in VFA camp may give some motivations for Beijing to give pressure to Pyongyang to come in term with Japanese suspicions.
Anyway,my take on the issue is ,For once the Tamogami has a point.Gotta give a credit to the man for that.
“Besides,I’m always impressed with VFA members holding their grudge to the Koreans in general”.
Not holding,I mean.
I think that was Adamu’s point. Well, one of them anyway. I would have to say that I agree with you that there is in America like no other liberal democracy I know a latent veneration of the military. However, just yesterday I went to a seminar in Washington, D.C. where there were many American sayoku interi bemoaning the militarisation of American society. Things are not as monolithic as you claim.
“Added to this,all they have sended was a tiny piece of bone which cannot be indentified as the belonging of the victim,plus their death has taken highly suspicious circumstances.”
Ace – I know this is one of the few things that we disagree on – but it was pretty reasonable to allow that the remnant handed over to the Japanese *might* have been Yokota Megumi’s. When people are cremated, after all, the bones turn to ash along with everything else. The problem with the Japanese response was that Koizumi pretty much claimed that because the results were inconclusive, the remnants *did not* belong to Yokota. There was no basis for that claim.
The victims’ courting of just about anyone who highlights their plight, no matter how controversial is, by the way, another reason why American presidents and their representatives should not meet with them.
“Or maybe the victims association is opening doors of all people regardless of ideology and nationality,yet is is alway the Japanese rightwinger knocking on their doors.”
That’s exactly what I meant. The victims association go to the right wingers because the left wingers don’t want to talk to them, even though they don’t necessarily endorse the right wingers views on other issues. The right wingers go to the victims association because they agree with them about North Korea.
You are correct that the deaths of the abductees in North Korea is suspicious. I’d hardly be surprised if any, or even all, of them had been tortured and/or killed, or suffered from malnutrition or any of the other things that routinely go on in the DPRK, and the government there probably conceals the bodies to hide that. But I haven’t seen anything that makes me think they might still be alive.
Sakigake: I’m not sure why you are assuming that any of us have any particular stance on the Iraq or Afghanistan war, or deny (or agree with) any of the claims of mass murder, illegal war, war crimes, etc. based on the comments made here. I have, if anything, even less respect for the ultra-right faction in the US than in Japan, who-as you said- actually do go out and make wars instead of just talking smack, and even try to use religion to justify it. But you’ll probably see few comments on current events related to American politics on this blog unless they’re related in some way to E Asia, or at least some place I’m visiting or other specific theme one of us is interested in at the moment.
“While I’m not the supporter of M-Bone’s idea on “Chinese cooperation,a big step”.”
I’m a pragmatist and I want to see things come out best for Japan in the end. I think that it is pretty clear that China is going to be a major player in the years to come. Not sure if it overtakes the US or even Japan for that matter, but it will be a big deal in East Asia. So Japan has to engage with China. No choice really. Given that, it makes sense for Japan to get as much from a relationship with China as it can. Japan should be going for economic advantages but if China can be used to lean on NK, that is great in my books.
It seems to me that Chinese pressure is the only way for anything to be done for possible rachi survivors. Or even to find out if there are any.
Damn, even if Japan had a real 攻殻機動隊 I doubt that they would be able to rescue someone from NK.
So I’m a member of the “use China” school. I’m not 100% sure that this can done, but trying is better than simply waiting and being used by China.
“even left wing Americans are more militarist than the Japanese right”
America’s militarism and aggression are a whole separate issue, but we are talking about Japan here and how they are dealing with it.
What bugs me about Japan’s far right is not that they think Japan should be a normal country with a military. It’s that they are so over the top and hawkish over the most minor issues that they become the best argument against entrusting Japan with its own defense.
At least with the Iraq war, Bush had to tell a really big lie about Saddam developing nukes. For Tamogami, even if a country has nukes he prefers to use tiny emotional wedge issues as a basis for issuing threats. What if this guy was in charge?
If Japan followed Tamogami’s logic, Japan would have to threaten to attack NK over the abductees, South Korea over Takeshima, and China over undersea gas rights. They’d be the Israel of Asia.
“What if this guy was in charge?”
When he was in charge of the Japanese ASDF he didn’t say anything like that. Now he’s a rightwing author. He’s doing it to sell books. It’s like Anne Colture talking about killing all the Mideast leaders and converting the populations to Christianity. Both statements translate as “pay attention to me”.
The scary thing about Bush was that he had 80% approval when he pulled that stuff. Could Tamogami even find a party to run for? Look what happend to Tojo’s daughter. What a whole lot of nothing that was. She sold some books though.
“The problem with the Japanese response was that Koizumi pretty much claimed that because the results were inconclusive, the remnants did not belong to Yokota. There was no basis for that claim.”
That is a red herring.If the bone sent from NK can’t be identified as Yokota’s in the first place,why should anyone believe that does belong to her?I know I won’t.
“I’d hardly be surprised if any, or even all, of them had been tortured and/or killed, or suffered from malnutrition or any of the other things that routinely go on in the DPRK, and the government there probably conceals the bodies to hide that. But I haven’t seen anything that makes me think they might still be alive.”
What’s important here is NK can’t give any direct evidence of the death of the abductees and insisting on refusing any investigation by the Japanese authorities.
Which leaves rooms for the suspicion.Why can’t North Korean government disclose any detailed informations on the death of their captives?
“So Japan has to engage with China. No choice really. Given that, it makes sense for Japan to get as much from a relationship with China as it can. Japan should be going for economic advantages but if China can be used to lean on NK, that is great in my books.”
Has this ever occured to you that is exactly what we’ve been doing since 1974,and that is what took us here?
I’m also wondering why WalMart isn’t asking all-mighty autocrats in Beijing to give more pressure to Pakistanis to hand over Osama Bin Laden.
“It’s that they are so over the top and hawkish over the most minor issues that they become the best argument against entrusting Japan with its own defense.”
You mean using SDF to rescue Japanese citizen in hostage crisis like Tamogami had suggested?
I know you don’t like Japan/American comparison.But what Tamogami is DREAMING is something America DID in Iran about three decades ago.And also France,the tireless critic of American diplomacy,TRIED in 2003.
Being a Japanese right winger,I’d expect something much more spicier slogan than “Let’s be tough like Jimmy Carter”,though.
Am I missing something, because I assumed ぶん殴るぞ meant much more than just an Iranian-hostage style rescue (though I think that’s problematic enough).
I realize it’s not fair for the US to be able to invade countries at will and violate its treaty obligations without repercussions, while Japan not only has to nod its head in agreement AND help pay for it all, dreamers like Tamogami risk having their war fantasies smothered before they can grow into full-blown visions of conquest just because they violate the established line. But I guess the reality is just impossible to state frankly in the newspapers, so we get these endless symbolic debates. It’s so tiring that we have to consider how the US handles the abductees as a metric for whether Japan is “winning” the negotiations, for example. So perhaps the only real answer is to participate and see how you do.
Also, I dont think its clear that he’s just a book whore… he remains well-respected and people apparently think he is being quite reasonable.
“Has this ever occurred to you that is exactly what we’ve been doing since 1974,and that is what took us here?”
The China of the 1970s or 1989 is at least a bit different than the China of today. International circumstances do have an impact on the way that government’s like China’s behave. Could even argue that the militantly pissed off about Japan’s war record China of 1998 has also changed – the Chinese government has been doing a reasonable job of not rubbing Japan’s face in it lately. My concern is that short of a potentially disastrous unilateral attack on NK, Japan can’t really do anything except gang together with the US and China and try to secure its security as best it can.
Aceface, what do you think that Japan should do with its China, NK, and US relationships?
“he remains well-respected and people apparently think he is being quite reasonable.”
Now I think that THIS is far from clear. Tamogami’s big thing is that Japan should get nukes and I see little evidence of much public support for that. Sure Japanese have negative feelings toward NK, but they aren’t alone, and this is not evidence of support for a unilateral attack.
“Am I missing something, because I assumed ぶん殴るぞ”
I think that you might be. For months now Tamogami has been saying – get nukes, apply pressure, I don’t want war, but we need some balls. When he changes his tune for vague threats (we can’t even imagine what form this ぶん殴る would take – any Iranian comparisons, as Aceface said, a fantasy in a few manga, etc., are silly because they assume that the rachi higaisha are all held together in some building somewhere) this stinks of changing the message to fit the audience, saying nothing in a lot of words so he can switch his tune later, classic self promotion.
“Am I missing something, because I assumed ぶん殴るぞ meant much more than just an Iranian-hostage style rescue (though I think that’s problematic enough).”
What Tamogami is saying is the need for the deterrence from the threat of NK capability.What truly a scadal is that currently we don’t have any.
And Iranian-hostage style rescue mission has been something people like Araki and Masumoto has been proposing for years.Yeah,it probably won’t work out.But why not think about it after we get the capability.
“Could even argue that the militantly pissed off about Japan’s war record China of 1998 has also changed – the Chinese government has been doing a reasonable job of not rubbing Japan’s face in it lately. ”
That’s only because
a)Beijing realized they are losing hearts and minds of Japanese public opinion and influence in J-politics.
b)They don’t want yet another Koizumi.A popular leadership who wouldn’t back step to the confrontation with the enemy.
c)CCP is much more worried about their own nationalism within the youth that could destabilize the communist rule.Anti-Japaanese nationalism could go out of control anytime.
“Aceface, what do you think that Japan should do with its China, NK, and US relationships?”
If Washington starts to make more intense strategic engagement with Beijing,like Biden-Wen annual summit that negotiate the future of Asia,thus becomes defacto strategic framework builder of East Asia,the U.S-Japan alliance ends it’s meaning.
American presense in Japan would benefit more to Chinese than Japan for it jeopardize Japanese strategic independence until China runs the whole show.
I’m not lionizing Tamogami as a progphet or anything.But if India can have nuke,and Washington willingly bending NPT regime,and slowly recognizing nuclear North Korea(which eventually one day become unified Korea)why not Japan?
I know I belong to the minority now,but the current generation who runs things must start to think that there are lives to live after they are gone.And I’m talikng about lefty baby boomers who only leave us nothing but huge debts,aging population and increasingly dangerous regional order.
“That is a red herring.If the bone sent from NK can’t be identified as Yokota’s in the first place,why should anyone believe that does belong to her?I know I won’t.”
So if there was not enough material to test for DNA samples, why go ahead and test them, unless you are trying to prove a political point? It is not as if the Japanese government was not forewarned about the ambiguity that such tests would reveal. The National Research Institute of Police Science declared that tests would be useless before the remains were passed on to a (very junior) researcher at Teikyo University – who admitted himself that the tests would be inconclusive. If the remains were effectively useless, why not just send the remains back to North Korea with a big “no thank you” card attached to them. Or send them to a third party to verify that they cannot actually be tested? Why use up the remains, produce the expected inconclusive result and then act as though the “possibility” of Yokota’s survival indicates its “likelihood”? Of course the North Koreans can’t be trusted, but that doesn’t mean that the Japanese government gets off the hook for making a very, very stupid play.
“That’s only because…”
Ace, I agree with you on all counts and I also think that all speak to a China that now cares what Japanese think – this could be a step toward something. I’m in favor of cautious steps.
“why not Japan?”
This reminds me of the US gun debate. Does having a gun end up making you more likely to get shot?
I’m in favor of Japan building up a more robust conventional defense, however. Hopeful for the future of the missile shield.
Nukes may be in Japan’s future, but the time to get them lies between “oh crap” and “too late”. Otherwise, the very act of getting them might advance us straight to the “oh crap” stage.
GoJ made an error,and now it’s corrected,end of story,I think.
Wasn’t the issue about the wellbeing of Megumi Yokota and the possibility of her survival and not much else?
I think foreigners including “The Nature”reporter and Gavan McCormack is overplaying this scandaｌ and defacto helping Pyongyang by distracting the issue.
So what exactly do they want to say?Japanese government practiced pseudo-science,and the victims’ families have to pays the price?
McCormack who has been supporting Pyongyang’s claim of American use of germ weapon during Korean war for years.If I were him,I would watch my mouth dealing any topic related with “North Korea”,”Science” and “factual credibility”.
Let him who without sin among you be the first to cast a stone.
An individual with a gun doesn’t always get an elevated status within the community s/he belongs.But such are the cases for the nuclear armed nation states.
“Why use up the remains, produce the expected inconclusive result and then act as though the “possibility” of Yokota’s survival indicates its “likelihood”?”
As Donald Rumsfeld said in a much-maligned but actually very logical statement,”the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.”
Just because Megumi is not proven conclusively to be dead does not prove that she is alive. Yes, it is theoretically possible, but there really is almost nothing to suggest it. What evidence could North Korea provide if she really was cremated? Witness or coroner reports are suspect at best, even if true-so what else is there?
Japanese authority can still collect circumstantial evidence of the death of Megumi and others if only Pyongyang allow them to investigate.Pyongyang must also give more facts(and suspects)of abduction so that they can be taken to justice.Until then,the case isn’t closed.
Yeah, but the Japanese government has to know that that letting in investigators from what is effectively an enemy nation to conduct investigations must be perceived from the North Korean side to be a non-starter. (Even more so after Japan seems so keen after the remains rigmarole to score political points wherever they can find them. This is why the GoJ’s actions in this regard *are* important.) Personally, I expect and understand that this is an emotional issue for many Japanese. But Japan’s leader’s should let their supposedly cooler heads prevail. Repeating a whole load of demands that you know your opposite partner is never going to agree to doesn’t make you look like you are trying to solve a problem. It just makes you looks like you are trying to generate political capital by establishing a grievance industry.
“Repeating a whole load of demands that you know your opposite partner is never going to agree to doesn’t make you look like you are trying to solve a problem.”
But that’s exactly what we are doing at Six party talks,No?
If they can give up nukes,which is of crucial importance to the survival of regime,they could surely settle with the minor case of the Japanese abductees from three decades ago.Especially considering the process of denuclearization would demand tons of tough choices to Kim Jong Il,if only he actually wishes that,btw.
Roy had mistakenly quoted one of the Rummy speak”,”the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.”But Iraq was under UN inspections for more than 12 years under United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 before this word pops out.No such luck for GoJ on NK abductees.
Anyway,this is not exactly “an emotional”issue.This is strictly of national principles.
If the Japanese governent can’t protect it’s citizens from sudden abductions orchestrated by the foreign government,what’s the use of them anyway?What will become the rule of law if it can be so easily be violated?
Why should we trust Pyongyang for the evidence that can’t be used as proof on anything?
What if we compromise now and the effect would be on denuclearization process?
Should we be trusting Kim Jong Il in the exact same manner as the international community is demanding us,which is basically “see no evil and hear no evil”?
The question opens door to more questions and none is less important than the others.It can’t be underestimated as simple “emotional issue”.Me think.
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