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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 13:24 10/10/2007
News Review #415: October 10, 2007

Japan Extends Sanctions on North Korea for Six Months

Reviewed by Takahiro MIYAO

Japan Extends Sanctions on North Korea for Six Months (10/09/2007)

News Review #414 (10/04): "Fukuda Says Japan Should Consider Cutting Myanmar Aid"


It is reported in the newspaper (see the link above) that the Fukuda Adminstration has decided to extend samctions on North Korea for six months, due to a lack of progress on the abduction issue, according to Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura. This decision may have been prompted by the report that last week North Korean leader Kim Jong Il told South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun there were no more Japanese abductees remaining in North Korea. Immediately, Mr. Machimura, and later Prime Minister Fukuda, reacted to this report by saying that it was not something Kim Jong Il should mention to Roh Moo Hyun, but the Japanese government should have been told directly at bilateral talks between Japan and North Korea.

In any case, this is the kind of dilemma that the Fukuda Administration is facing in dealing with Asia in general and North Korea in particular, as pointed out in the previous news review (see the Reference above). While Prime Minister Fukuda would like to emphasize his own approach to foreign policy by appointing relatively "dovish" Komura as foreign minister, rather than more hawkish Machimura, the reality in Asia seems to dictate that Mr. Fukuda should keep the Koizumi-Abe style of hawkish foreign policy, at least toward Asia.

At the same time, Mr Fukuda seems to have no intention to deal with Kim Jong Il face to face, as he clearly stated in response to an opposition party member's question in the Diet. This may well mean that Prime Minister cannnot keep his promise to resolve the abductee issue himself during his tenure as prime minister. As concluded in the previous news review, it is now probable that Mr. Fukuda could fail, not necessarily in domestic policy issues such as the public pension problem or the agricultural problem, but in the foreign policy area, especially in dealing with North Korea.

This review is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):

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