Iraq, Pyongyang High on Agenda for Bush-Koizumi
Reviewed By Hitoshi URABE
"Iraq, Pyongyang High on Agenda for Bush-Koizumi"
(by Reuters) Washington Post
Prime Minister Koizumi left for the United States on Monday afternoon to attend a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and for subsequent talks with President Bush scheduled on Sept. 12.
The article suggests the two primary topics to be discussed at the meeting of two leaders would be Mr Koizumi's visit to North Korea next week and the probable attack by U.S. on Iraq, while Japan's depressed economy may be a subject of lower priority. Upon leaving for U.S., Mr Koizumi confirmed to the media these would be the topic s he is intending to discuss with Mr Bush.
As the article points out, it is unlikely that that Japan's economic situation would be high on the agenda, especially at this time. There is in fact no difference in views on Japan's sagging economy, and that something has to be done about it, but there is no pressing need for the leaders to discuss it personally. Perhaps an announcement would be made that they do care, and that should take care of it.
As Mr Koizumi's visit to Pyongyang is scheduled next week and the U.S. attack on Baghdad could begin at any moment, the Iraqi and the North Korean matters are undoubtedly more pressing issues that also require mutual understanding and consensus between Messrs Koizumi and Bush.
In the meantime, NHK (The Japan Broadcasting Corporation) conducted a survey on Mr Koizumi and his policies. There are some interesting results, which starts out with the finding that the approval rate for Koizumi's cabinet rose to 55 percent, up ten percent from a month ago, which makes it the first time in six months for the approval rate to surpass 50 percent.
In the survey, asked about the Prime Minister's visit to North Korea next week, 64 percent said "they support the decision", 23 percent said "they do not", while 13 percent said "they do not know", or did not respond. When asked what they expect from the visit, 41 percent said "progress on the alleged abductions of Japanese nationals," 24 percent said "they cannot expect any results," and 18 percent said, "a resumption of bilateral diplomatic normalization talks."
The point here is that what people want most is a clarification and the resolution of the abductions of out people by North Korea, in effect making it a prerequisite in establishing normal diplomatic relations with them.
Then the survey asks people their views on U.S. actions since Sept. 11 last year, and here the results may be surprising to some, in which 32 percent of the respondents said they support the series of U.S. military actions in Afghanistan, while 57 percent said they do not. In addition, on the question of a possible U.S. attack on Iraq, 29 percent said they would support it, while 58 percent said they would not. Thirteen percent said they did not know, or did not answer.
Further analysis is necessary to draw any significant conclusion, but the sentiments of the people seem to differ greatly between the two countries, to say the least.