Wednesday, October 11, 2006

EXTRA! North Korea Conducts Nuclear Test (Sep. 10); and Japanese Mayor Vows Revision of Friendship Ties with Sister City on North Korea

A hardcopy extra, in the Internet age, about the previous morning's breaking news? Maybe that was what was so special about an extra that arrived folded in with the evening edition of the newspaper of my choice. (I'm not naming names, because other dailies may have done the same thing, in which case the paper that I subscribe to does not merit special mention.) This happened, for those of you who are not familiar with the Japanese media, because Japanese dailies have a self-imposed holiday once a month. (Yes, it quacks like a cartel.) I believe they initiated the practice to give the delivery boys a rest. Nice.

One wonders, do the delivery boys get paid for the day-off?

Intercity comity is another casualty of North Korea's nuclear test. Mr. Katsuji Nakamura, mayor of Sakaiminato, a fishing town in Shimane Prefecture, vowed to review relationships with Wonsang, with which Sakaiminato has a sister-city pact

Shimane Prefecture, you may recall, is the one whose provincial assembly touched off an international incident over Takeshima (feel free, if you like, to call it Dokto when you comment on my blog) when it passed a law proclaiming Takeshima Day. The people of Shimane (Shimanese? Shimanites? Shimaneans?) were surprised when Koreans were furious.

Strictly speaking, it would not be accurate to say that this time the shoe is on the other foot (unless you consider North and South Korea to be one and the same foot). Still, you can catch a glimpse of the huge gap in perceptions and priorities between Japanese and Koreans.

In this blog, I try to provide a different perspective, as well as information that may go unnoticed but for me. I don't always succeed, but I try. And there's little chance of that happening on this one. If getting everybody to talk about himself was Kim Jong-il's intent, Paris Hilton couldn't have done better. Slim pickings for bottom feeders like me.

However, just to show I'm not skirting the main issue, I'll go on record as supporting (since we've come to this junction) under UN resolution the use of force including surgical strikes against any attempts at further tests of means of WMD delivery, with or without nuclear warheads, and a parallel offer of immediate suspension of economic sanctions in exchange for the suspension of all nuclear and other illegal (drugs, counterfeiting) activities (verification to be worked out). Any violation will be met with the re-imposition of the sanctions.

The abductees issue is excruciating, but progress there will only come after progress is made on issues that the other parties really care about. I don't think it can be a pre-condition at this stage. It will more likely than not appear in resolutions, but do not mistake that for real progress.

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