NAPSNet Daily Report
friday, october 27, 2000

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Japan

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I. United States

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1. ROK, Japanese Views of US-DPRK Talks

The New York Times (Howard W. French, "RIPPLES OF ALBRIGHT VISIT FELT BY AMERICAN ALLIES IN AREA," Seoul, 10/25/00) reported that there have been signs of concern in both the ROK and Japan that US rapprochement with the DPRK could upset the ROK's own diplomacy with the DPRK, and render even more remote the possibility that Japan will obtain satisfaction regarding its grievances. Each of the allies is eager for the DPRK cease to be a threat to regional stability, but for reasons of domestic politics and priorities, the US, the ROK, and Japan might like to see events unfold in a slightly different sequence. Many fear that the slow and sometimes intermittent progress by the DPRK on issues like regular visits between separated families, military and economic cooperation, and the scheduling of a return visit to the DPRK by DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, will only become worse as the DPRK succeeds in engaging the US at the highest levels. Han Seung-joo, a former ROK foreign minister, said, "There is that concern among people, because that is the pattern that Pyongyang has been following through the years. Even now, North Korea is not implementing on the promises already made, such as on issues like family reunification, economic cooperation, railroad development and on other things. Of course there has been no progress at all on military issues." Japan, for its part, already feels left out of the diplomatic process, with almost daily newspaper editorials questioning how and why the government of Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori has allowed both the ROK and the US to achieve dramatic breakthroughs in their relations with the DPRK, with no corresponding advance by Japan. Peter Hayes, executive director of the Nautilus Institute, stated, "North Korea cannot go forward with out major structural adjustment, and they cannot achieve that adjustment without major resources. It follows that the only place these resources can come from is Japan. Japan cannot deal directly with Pyongyang, because of Japanese mistrust of all things Korean, and especially North Korean, so there must be an intermediary, the World Bank. But the World Bank cannot do anything unless Washington takes them off of the terrorist list, and that is what brings all the present focus back to Washington."

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2. US View of Albright's Visit

The Washington Post published an editorial ("TOASTING KIM JONG IL," 10/27/00) which said that the editor were amazed that US Secretary of State Madeline Albright would allow herself to be photographed, smiling, as 100,000 "essentially enslaved laborers" performed for her and "one of the world's most repressive dictators." The editor noted that the reader may find the observation as unfair because Albright knew about DPRK Kim Jong-il's dictatorship and insulting her hosts would have been self-indulgent and counterproductive. However, the editor wrote, "that argument misses the importance of America's public diplomacy. We know, from past example, how influential the United States can be when it chooses to show disapproval for the morally repugnant--and when it chooses not to." Therefore, the editorial continues, when US leaders toast a dictator without a word of disapproval, they just as certainly dishearten those who would fight for freedom. It continues, "This is not an argument against engagement with a dictator; that is a separate debate. The question, rather, is whether you engage without compromising your values. Secretary Albright brought to Pyongyang her human rights adviser, but he was not among the aides at her side in her meetings with Mr. Kim." Her silence on those issues, the editor continues, "diminished U.S. credibility, not only in North Korea but in less threatening countries where the administration chooses to speak, more openly, about human rights." [Ed. note: This article was included in the US Department of Defense's Early Bird news service for October 27, 2000.]

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3. DPRK-Japan Relations

Agence France Presse ("NKOREA TOO BUSY WITH US, LESS COMMITTED TO DIPLOMATIC TALKS WITH JAPAN," Tokyo, 10/27/00) reported that analysts said that the DPRK desire to establish diplomatic ties with the US has left Japan with little hope of progress in upcoming talks with the DPRK on normalizing relations. Kazuro Umezu, professor of international relations at Nagoya University, said, "North Korea is putting all its efforts right now into improving the ties with the United States. It is no exaggeration to say the North is betting its destiny on relations with Washington. That means North Korea has no serious intention of negotiating with Japan right now and little progress is expected in the upcoming normalization talks." Japan and the DPRK will hold their third round of normalization talks in Beijing on October 30 and 31. The two countries started talks in 1991, but the DPRK walked out in November 1992 when Japan raised the issue of DPRK kidnapping of Japanese citizens. Umezu said that if the DPRK were to do the same again, the negotiations could collapse. He said, "The foundation of the bilateral talks is very fragile. It has been kept alive as North Korea awaits for the best opportunity to extract as much money as possible from Japan." However, Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono insisted on Friday that Japan would continue to pursue the talks "with perseverance." He said, "In previous normalization talks, both sides presented their positions. Now we must find common grounds in the talks." Tomohide Murai, professor of East Asian military studies at the Defense Agency Academy, stated, "The United States is North Korea's highest priority and Europe comes second. South Korea ranks third and Japan comes later." However, he said, Japan is "the biggest potential source of finance for North Korea" and the DPRK wants to make the best use of Japan's position to extract as much aid as possible. He added, "An improvement in relations with the outside world, particularly with the United States, is a potent diplomatic card for North Korea to squeeze money out of Japan. The current situation is far too favorable to North Korea and far too unfavorable to Japan. Now is not the best time for North Korea to make that move (because it is acquiring diplomatic leverage). Therefore, I see little progress in the upcoming normalization talks."

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4. Reunion of Separated Families

The Associated Press (Jae-suk Yoo, "N. KOREA PROPOSES NEW REUNION DATES," Seoul, 10/27/00) reported that ROK official said that after an unexplained two-week delay, the DPRK on Friday proposed new schedules for family reunions and economic talks. Officials said that the second round of reunions for separated families will be held November 30 - December 2. ROK Red Cross and government officials said that the DPRK suggested, in two separate proposals on Friday, that the November 2-4 family reunion be rescheduled for November 30-December 2 and the October 18 - 21 economic talks for November 8-11. The ROK agreed.

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5. US Jets Crossing DMZ

The Associated Press ("U.S. JETS CROSS BORDER INTO N.KOREA," Seoul, 10/27/00) reported that the US military command in the ROK said on Friday that two US military aircraft inadvertently crossed the border into the DPRK air space but were safely brought back by emergency radio calls to the pilots. The two aircraft were on a training mission on October 26 at the time of the incident. Command officials refused to give other details, including the types of aircraft and whether there was any firing by the DPRK. An investigation was under way. The UN Command said that it has informed the DPRK of the incident and asked for a border meeting to discuss "this incident as well as several North Korean MDL (military demarcation line) crossings in recent weeks." The DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) warned on Friday that the crossing could aggravate improving relations on the Korean peninsula. KNCA said that two US "fighter planes" infiltrated deep into air space near Kaesong, a major DPRK city. It said, "As soldiers of the Korean People's Army took a prompt self-defensive measure, the fighter planes flew back to Kanghwa island. This incident was a product of the deliberate and premeditated moves of the U.S. warlike forces to aggravate the daily improving situation on the Korean Peninsula." The DPRK denounced the exercise as arm-twisting tactic against it. A spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry said in a report carried by the KCNA on October 26, "It is as good as spoiling the good atmosphere created in favor of reconciliation and cooperation."

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6. 1994 DPRK Nuclear Crisis

The Associated Press ("GORE AIDE DISCUSSES NORTH KOREA," Washington, 10/27/00) USA Today ("U.S. HAD CONSIDERED FORCE TO END N. KOREA'S NUKE PROGRAM," 10/27/00) reported that a senior aide to US Vice President Al Gore said on October 26 that the Clinton administration considered using force to shut down the DPRK's nuclear weapons program. Speaking at the Open Forum, a seminar for the US Foreign Service, Leon S. Fuerth, chief foreign policy adviser to Gore, said at the State Department, "We had a close call. The Korean nuclear program was real. It was a threat to the security of our allies and a threat to our security. The ground was beginning to shift in the direction of a military confrontation. We were in the (White House) Situation Room, checking to be sure if worse came to worse, the U.S. military was in a position to handle what might occur." He said there was no "cookbook formula" to decide what to do about the DPRK or other places where President Clinton used force against "egregious acts of internal criminality."

II. Republic of Korea

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1. Inter-Korean Relations

The Korea Herald (Kim Ji-ho, "P'YANG ASKS SOUTH TO SLOW PACE OF RAPPROCHEMENT," Seoul, 10/27/00) and Chosun Ilbo (Choi Byong-muk, "SOUTH NORTH RELATIONS STALL DUE TO US-NK CONTACTS," Seoul, 10/26/00) reported that a top ROK unification policymaker said on Thursday that the DPRK has sent a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to the ROK, proposing that they slow down the pace of inter-Korean rapprochement. The DPRK promised to accelerate the projects next spring. Minister Park's remarks came amid escalating suspicion in the ROK that the DPRK could be sidelining the ROK in its eagerness for reconciliation with the US.

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2. DPRK-US Relations

The Korea Herald (Shin Yong-bae, "MISSILE TALKS WATERSHED IN N.K.-U.S. RELATIONS," Seoul, 10/27/00) reported that ROK officials and analysts said on Thursday that next week's missile talks between the US and the DPRK will likely be a turning point in their moves to normalize ties. "The outcome of the missile talks will decide a visit by U.S. President Bill Clinton to North Korea," said a Foreign Ministry official, who requested anonymity. Clinton's visit to Pyongyang will be made possible only when the DPRK makes "dramatic" concessions on the missile issue, a key factor to opening ties, said Professor Kim Sung-han of the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (IFANS) affiliated with the Foreign Ministry. At issue is how the US will compensate for the DPRK's freezing of its missile program and exports of its missiles to some Middle East nations.

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3. Human Rights Activists on Relations with DPRK

Chosun Ilbo ("FRENCH ACTIVISTS SET UP NK WARNING COMMITTEE," Seoul, 10/26/00) reported that human rights activists in France established an ad hoc committee to warn those in the West who might be too active in their attempts to become close with the DPRK, it was learned Thursday. About 50 French researchers, intellectuals and former politicians launched the CAPNC in Paris. The group named DPRK leader Kim Jong-il as the worst tyrant alive and warned against any illusion that might have been created in the wake of US State Secretary Madeleine Albright's visit to the DPRK this week. In a statement, the CAPNC said that all diplomatic normalization with the DPRK must come with the promise of security and human rights. One member of the CAPNC argued that the DPRK is an exceptional totalitarian state in the world and that 150,000 residents detained in labor camps were in misery.

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4. Japanese Aid to DPRK

Chosun Ilbo ("JAPAN CONSIDERS US$9 BILLION AID TO NORTH," Seoul, 10/27/00) reported that the Tokyo Shinbum on Thursday cited a government source as saying that the Japanese government communicated through private channels its intention to give US$9 billion in economic aid to the DPRK. It is likely that about US$5 billion or 60 percent of the assistance would be donated, and the rest would be made in loans. In exchange, the Japanese government would like to draw out solutions regarding missile issues and the abduction of Japanese citizens by the DPRK. Also Japan hopes that the assistance will give impetus to normalizing the two nations' diplomatic relations.

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5. DPRK View of ROK-Japan Territorial Dispute

The Korea Herald (Kil Byung-ok, "N. KOREA DEMANDS APOLOGY FOR MORI'S REMARKS ON TOKTO," Seoul, 10/27/00) reported that the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said that the DPRK Thursday demanded that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori apologize for his remarks asserting sovereignty over the Tokto group of islets in the East Sea. KCNA said that Mori's remarks were a calculated provocation that destroys peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Mori insisted that Tokto, or Takeshima in Japanese, is Japanese territory either by history or international law, during an interview with the ROK's Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) held just before his summit talks with President Kim Dae-jung last month. A spokesman of the DPRK Foreign Ministry said that Mori's recent statements show Japan's attempt to return to their past imperialist policy of expansionism.

III. Japan

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1. DPRK Abduction Issue

The Japan Times (Kyodo, "PROGRESS ON ABDUCTIONS DESIRED: KIM," Seoul, 10/26/2000) reported that a US official who traveled to the ROK with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright revealed that DPRK leader Kim Jong- il expressed interest in seeing progress on the long-standing issue of 10 Japanese that Japan believes were abducted by DPRK agents in the 1970s and 1980s. Albright said to reporters after her meeting with ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Lee Joung-binn and Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono, "I made it very clear ... the importance of the (abduction) issue not only to Japan but to us. I did raise it a number of times ." However, Albright did not say how Kim responded. Albright said that the US would discuss with Japan and the ROK how to settle the abduction issue. The senior US official, who asked not to be named, told reporters en route from Pyongyang to Seoul that Kim "would like to have things proceed well." The official said, however, that Kim "views things somewhat differently" from the Japanese government. The DPRK calls the group "missing persons." The official also said, "Chairman (Kim) listened very attentively" to Albright's comments on the matter." Meanwhile, Kono stated on October 25, "I expect the US- DPRK talks will certainly have a beneficial influence on the Japan-DPRK normalization talks."

The Daily Yomiuri (Riichiro Maeki, "TALKS DO LITTLE FOR ABDUCTION ISSUE," Seoul, 10/27/2000) reported that according to diplomatic sources, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's trip to the DPRK for historic talks with the North's leader Kim Jong-Il appears to have made little progress on the issue of alleged abductions of Japanese nationals by DPRK agents. The sources said that after meeting with Albright, Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono was quoted by his aides as saying that he was glad Albright had discussed the abduction issue "with considerably more sincerity than I had expected" during talks with Kim Jong-il. Kono's remark was a reflection of the Japanese government's concern that solving the abduction issue will be complicated by the accelerated pace of rapprochement between the DPRK and the US. However, Foreign Ministry officials declined to comment on specific terms Kim used in responding to the abduction issue. High-ranking Foreign Ministry officials accompanying Kono noted that the US position in the abduction issue is to convey to the DPRK the importance of the issue and "not to negotiate with Pyongyang." One of the officials said, "The US position is that negotiations on the problem should be conducted between Japan and North Korea." The Japanese side is also concerned that the abduction issue--unlike Pyongyang's missile development, in which the US and the ROK share a common concern--is only of significance to Japan. According to a senior member of the Liberal Democratic Party's foreign affairs committee, the US is unlikely to maintain its interest in the abduction issue. In addition, the official also said that it is possible that the US may deliberately avoid discussing the issue in the future to pave the way for a visit by Clinton to the DPRK.

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2. Mori's Statement on Abduction Issue

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("MORI ADMITS THAT HIS PROPOSAL WAS NOT HIS OWN," 10/25/2000) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori announced at the Lower House Plenary Session on October 24 that his proposal to the DPRK three years ago that the DPRK could pretend to have found the missing Japanese in a third country was not his own and also that the proposal was originally that of the Liberal Democratic Party Delegation to the DPRK. The report said that Mori's announcement aimed to correct Chief Cabinet Secretary Hidenao Nakagawa's statement on October 23 that the proposal was a personal view by former Construction Minister Masaaki Nakayama, one of the member of the delegation.

The Japan Times ("STORM SWIRLS OVER ABDUCTION REMARK," 10/26/2000) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori has been under pressure to resign as opposition leaders criticize over Mori's proposal to the DPRK for solving the abduction issue. Yukio Hatoyama, head of the largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan, called on both Mori and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hidenao Nakagawa to step down. Hatoyama said, "It (the proposal) was no longer an option for a solution." Tetsuzo Fuwa, chairman of the Japanese Communist Party, and Takako Doi, leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), also criticized the remark, arguing that the approach to negotiations must be different if the claim is based only on a "suspicion" and not an established fact. Mori said that the claim is based on careful police investigation. Doi demanded that Mori retract his statement that the proposal belonged to the coalition's mission, claiming that the SDP and New Party Sakigake -- which were then coalition members -- had not been consulted in advance. Mori refused and noted that other members of the mission did not object to the proposal when it was made.

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3. DPRK Missile Issue

The Daily Yomiuri (Yoshikazu Shirakawa , "US, JAPAN LIKELY TO DIFFER ON N. KOREA MISSILES, Seoul, 10/27/2000) reported that although Japan, the US and the ROK are in agreement over the need to maintain close ties to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula, subtle differences remain in their respective stands toward the DPRK missile issue. Despite the reconfirmation of the three countries' joint interest in boosting stability of the peninsula at the discussion on October 25 among US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono, and ROK Foreign and Trade Minister Lee Joung-binn, the differences among the three countries are most likely to come to the surface once concrete approaches for dealing with the DPRK missile problem are discussed. This is especially likely if a plan materializes to extend satellite development assistance to the DPRK in return for assurances that it would scrap its suspected missile development program and refrain from exporting its missiles. Should the plan make progress, Japan, the US and the ROK may find themselves differing with each other over what should be prioritized. In Albright's bilateral talks with Kono following the three-way meeting, she was quoted as saying that her talks with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il covered "all kinds of missiles." Japan is primarily concerned with the medium- range Rodong missile since almost the entire Japanese archipelago is within its range. Albright reportedly told Kono that the Rodong missile was also of concern to the US, but analysts pointed out that the US is more directly concerned about ensuring that the DPRK abandon its program to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the US mainland. The ROK, for its part, considers the DPRK's chemical and biological weapons as more threatening than its missiles, since Seoul is located only 50 kilometers from the demilitarized zone. The report pointed out that high on the agenda at expert negotiations between the US and the DPRK over the missile issue starting next week will be the scope of the kinds of missiles to be dealt with in the bilateral negotiations and an outline of how satellite launches might be conducted for the DPRK by other countries. For such a deal to make progress, the countries concerned would have to reach an agreement on where the launches would take place and how they would be funded. However, if such a plan goes ahead without taking into consideration the issue of Rodong missile deployment, a surge in public opposition to the plan in Japan seems inevitable. The report concluded that any solution that focuses only on the scrapping of the Taepodong missiles is certain to drive the Japanese government into a tight corner.

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4. Commentary on Japanese-DPRK Relations

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Hisahiko Okazaki, "DON'T FEAR BEING LATE," 10/09/2000) and the Daily Yomiuri (Hisahiko Okazaki, "JAPAN-N. KOREA TIES LIKELY TO MEND LAST," 10/09/2000) carried on October 9 a comment on the current situation of Japanese-DPRK diplomatic relations by Hisahiko Okazaki, former Japanese ambassador to Thailand and Saudi Arabia. Okazaki argued that Japan would be the last nation to develop diplomatic ties with the DPRK, but that Japan should not be misguided by the "irresponsible" opinion that Japan would be the only country that has missed the bus. Okazaki pointed out that the DPRK's overtures after the collapse of the Soviet Union were the result of a fear of being isolated in the new post-Cold War world and that basic tensions between the DPRK and the ROK were not eased at all until recently. However, he observed, the current political developments are somewhat different from those of the past. He pointed out that the light-water reactor deal created, to a certain extent, mutual trust among working-level officials. On the Japanese side, ROK President Kim Dae-jung's statesmanlike initiative and former US Defense Secretary William Perry's diplomacy have created a framework of tripartite coordination and cooperation among Japan, the US and the ROK, allowing all three countries to negotiate with the DPRK based on mutual trust. While diplomatic relations surrounding the DPRK will see progress, Japan-DPRK relations are expected to lag behind those of other countries due to the national sentiment of the Japanese people. The Japanese people felt strong antipathy toward the DPRK following the launch of a Taepodong missile in August 1998, coming on the heels of a police report in 1997 on alleged abductions of Japanese nationals by DPRK agents. Therefore, while the US could resume normalization talks with the DPRK because the agreement on the suspension of missile launches, public opinion did not allow the Japanese government to do the same. In particular, the suspected abduction of Megumi Yokota--a schoolgirl--could not be explained by any political motive. However, the article pointed out that there are also those in the US and the ROK who oppose rapprochement. In addition, it is highly probably that the ROK and the US two countries would criticize Japan if it adopted policies toward the DPRK that were softer than their own. Okazaki argued that if the focus is on the easing of tensions between the two Koreas, it is highly likely that the normalization of diplomatic ties between Japan and the DPRK will come after those of the US and the ROK. In the event of a military emergency on the Korean Peninsula, the obligations and risks that the ROK and the US would bear are immeasurably larger than those Japan would have. Therefore, it is prudent for Japan to respect the intentions of friendly nations and follow their paths, while trying not to stand in the way of their policies.

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5. Japanese View on ASEM

The Daily Yomiuri (Makoto Katsu, "ASEM: A CAST IN SEARCH OF A SCRIPT," Seoul, 10/23/2000) supported a Japanese Foreign Ministry official's view that the recent ASEM meeting in Seoul was essentially a summit on the DPRK. The report said that during the meetings, the participants concentrated on issues of peace and cooperation with the DPRK, which diluted the reason for ASEM's existence. The report said that the stage was set when it was decided that the meeting would be held in the ROK--a country obviously with vested interest in matters related to the Korean Peninsula. The report quoted a senior Foreign Ministry official as saying, "The meeting in Seoul provided an opportunity for member countries to think about Korean Peninsula issues." Some said there was an "ASEM effect" that contributed to the proposed resumption of diplomatic relations. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori succeeded in having a joint Japan-ROK proposal incorporated in the chair's statement on addressing the issue of the digital divide, but he was forced to handle an unexpected scenario when several European countries expressed their intent to renew relations with the DPRK. ROK President Kim Dae-jung said that ASEM had produced solid results because European countries had "totally agreed that peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula" was something that also affected them. The report pointed out however that the excessive amount of time spent on DPRK issues certainly watered down the proceedings. The report added that the increased number of members--26 nations and organizations--also was responsible for the lack of cohesion. When the ASEM was held in 1998 in London, participants had to address the Asian currency crises, but this time around, the report argued, there was no such sense of urgency over a particular issue. The report concluded that the next ASEM will be held in Copenhagen in 2002, but that if European and Asian leaders attending it do the same as this year's did the raison d'etre of ASEM will become even more questionable.

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6. PRC View of US-DPRK Relations

The Asahi Shimbun ("PRC HOPES FOR RESUMPTION OF FOUR PARTY PEACE TALKS," 10/22/2000) reported that the PRC Foreign Minister, during his visit to Seoul on October 21, said to an Asahi Shimbun reporter regarding the improving relationship between the US and the DPRK, "The PRC requests that the Four Party Peace Talks, including the two Koreas, the PRC and the US, be resumed in Geneva." The Foreign Minister also stated, "The PRC support the improvement of (US-DPRK) relations. The Korean Peninsula is now within the mechanism of a cease-fire agreement, but the mechanism should be replaced with a peace mechanism. This should be done at the Four Party Peace Talks."

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7. Japanese Cyber Defense Policy

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("DEFENSE AGENCY CONSIDERS DEVELOPING CYBER WEAPONS," 10/23/2000) and the Daily Yomiuri ("DEFENSE AGENCY MAY DEVELOP CYBERWEAPONS," 10/24/2000) reported that the Japanese Defense Agency (JDA) began to study developing experimental computer viruses and computer hacking technology to build a computer system to cope with so-called cyberattacks by computer viruses and hackers, but the project is raising the question of its constitutionality. The project may be included in the five-year defense buildup program, starting in fiscal 2001. Though the new technology and virus will be developed to test the new cyberattack defense system, possessing the virus and hacking technology would mean having "cyberweapons" that are able to attack other countries' computer systems. Therefore, JDA began to research whether having and using viruses and hacking technology violate the Constitution, which in practice restricts the possession of strategic weapons. Constitutional restrictions dictating a purely defensive posture have been interpreted as forbidding Japan from possessing strategic weapons, such as long-range missiles and aircraft carriers. The introduction of midair refueling aircraft was shelved because it was feared that neighboring countries would view the aircraft as a threat. To this end, debate has taken place within JDA as to whether possession of cyberweapons violates the Constitution.

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