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Home > Media Reiews > News Review Last Updated: 14:53 03/09/2007
News Review #135: June 2, 2003

Spy Boat Reminds Japan of N. Korea Threat

Reviewed by Hitoshi URABE

"Spy Boat Reminds Japan of N. Korea Threat"
(By Gary Schaefer, AP),1280,-2737914,00.html


North Korean spy ship retrieved last September from the bed of the South China Sea was put on display in Tokyo. The spy ship was destructed by its own crew and sunk when it exchanged fire with Japan's coast guard patrol boat in December 2001.

It was apparently a sheer luck a year and a half ago for the Japan's patrol boat to survive the confrontation when it was attacked by the North Korean spy vessel carrying every sort of sophisticated weaponry, which it actually utilized, against the patrol boat. It was later found out that the spy ship carried dozens of automatic weapons, a surface-to-air missile launcher, and even an underwater scooter capable of carrying up to three men.

Japanese people have long been taught at schools that if Japan would behave itself, there would be no military confrontation in Asia. They were taught to refrain from even thinking there is such a thing as a gun. Its constitution proudly declares that Japan would never maintain land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential (Article 9 of the Constitution), which is based on the determination by the people to preserve Japan's security and existence by trusting in the justice and faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world (Preamble of the Constitution).

Events since showed that the world is not quite as ideal as the writers of Japan's Constitution had envisaged. There is supposed to be no armed forces in Japan, but various circumstances through the years required Japan to set-up and maintain guns in the form of Self-Defense Force (SDF), presently with 250,000 personnel. There are still political parties represented in the diet, supported by certain peace groups, who denounce the SDF to be unconstitutional.

It is commonly explained that the SDF is to be employed only in defense-only defense situations, whatever that means. Until the attack by the spy ship, there was no procedure prescribed for the SDF to come to carry out a rescue mission for a patrol boat in calamity, for a fear that the SDF ships going out to open sea might be condemned as a military action, by peace groups, certain political parties, and other countries.

During the while, as their leader Kim Jon-Il had admitted to Prime Minister Koizumi upon the PM's visit to Pyongyang last September, North Korea was kidnapping Japanese citizens, spying on Japan's soils, selling drugs to Japan's crime syndicates, while pursuing other malicious actions. A recent report of a testimony in the US by a defector from North Korea states that ninety percent of its equipment in developing nuclear arms was smuggled from Japan.

Japan's people began to wonder whether the authors of the Constitution were aware of such country as North Korea could exist, when they wrote the part of the preamble to the Constitution, "the peace-loving peoples of the world."

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