NAPSNet Daily Report
, april , 2001

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea III. Japan

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I. United States

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1. DPRK Military

The Wall Street Journal (Jay Solomon and Eduardo Lachica, "NORTH KOREA'S MILITARY BUILDUP THREATENS PEACE TALKS WITH SEOUL," 04/02/01) reported that US and ROK military officials said that they have observed a substantial buildup in the DPRK's forward-deployed offensive firepower over the past year. They said that the DPRK has increased the number and size of military training exercises, continued the production and deployment of medium-range ballistic missiles, and amassed 70 percent of its active forces within 145 kilometers (90 miles) of the Demilitarized Zone. General Thomas A. Schwartz, commander-in-chief of the US-ROK combined forces, told the US Senate's Armed Forces Committee last week, "When I look north, I can see an enemy that's bigger, better, closer and deadlier, and I can prove it." He said that the DPRK has 700,000 troops, over 8,000 artillery systems and 2,000 tanks. A senior ROK defense official said last week, however, "Even on the basis of the same information the understanding and interpretation of the data can vary depending on the perspective." DPRK expert Selig Harrison wrote in the current issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, "Pyongyang's forward deployments of tanks and artillery are intended to help deter a U.S. pre-emptive strike, not to prepare for another invasion." A statement put out by the ROK opposition Grand National Party this month said, "It is clear that the Kim Dae Jung administration's sunshine policy is only helping North Korea expand its military."

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2. Inter-Korean Talks

The Associated Press ("INTER-KOREA RED CROSS TALKS THIS WK TO BE CANCELED," Seoul, 04/02/01) reported that ROK officials said Monday that scheduled inter-Korea Red Cross talks in Seoul this week were certain to be canceled as the DPRK failed to respond on time regarding the proposed location for the talks. Park Hyong-joon, a spokesman at the ROK Red Cross, stated, "It would be impossible to hold the talks on schedule now."

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3. ROK-DPRK Relations

The Associated Press (Sang-Hun Choe, "NORTH DENOUNCES S. KOREA OFFICIAL," Seoul, 03/31/01) reported that the DPRK's Rodong Sinmun on Saturday criticized DPRK Defense Minister Kim Dong-shin for calling for closer military cooperation with the US and a strong defense posture. The paper said, "Any man of reason cannot be free to talk such rubbish." It added, "His remarks were little short of begging foreign aggressors to hold up the process of reconciliation, cooperation and reunification of the Korean nation through war moves on the Korean Peninsula." In a separate commentary, the Korean Central News Agency said, "U.S. conservative hard-liners are spreading the trite fiction of 'threat' from the DPRK in a bid to bar positive developments on the Korean Peninsula and aggravate confrontation and antagonism."

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4. Pyongyang Marathon

The Wall Street Journal (Jay Solomon, "NORTH KOREA SIGNALS UPWARD INTENTIONS WITH PLANNED WORLD-CLASS MARATHON," Seoul, 04/02/01) reported that on April 15 the DPRK will host the Pyongyang International Marathon, sanctioned by the International Amateur Athletic Federation. Race promoters said that 600 local runners and 80 foreigners will take part in the marathon. Swiss-based race promoter ISL Asia-Pacific has recently been contracted by the DPRK's Olympic body to exclusively market their sporting events. ISL's Guy Horne stated, "There's a lot more business going on up there than people think." A senior executive at Italy's Fila Sport SpA, one of the marathon's sponsors, stated, "We're getting great exposure up there." Great Britain's Financial Times, another sponsor of the event, is sending eight of its staff to participate in the event. Tricia Pepper, the newspaper's marketing manager for Japan and Korea, stated, "The marathon gives us a way to make inroads into a once impenetrable country."

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5. Reunions of Separated Families

Computer Associates International issued a press release ("CA-SPONSORED WEBSITE REUNITES 110 KOREAN CITIZENS WITH FAMILIES IN FIRST 10 MONTHS," Islandia, NY, 04/02/01) which said that the Separated Family Reunion website ( has helped successfully resolve 110 cases of Korean family separations in 10 months since its inception. Successful reunions have consisted mostly of missing children, adopted children's families and separated families in the ROK, but steps are being taken to extend the program to the DPRK.

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6. DPRK Execution

The New York Times (Don Kirk, "A MOTHER SPEAKS OUT ABOUT HER SON'S EXECUTION IN NORTH KOREA," Seoul, 04/01/01) reported that DPRK defector An Chang-suk said on Friday that she learned that her son, Yu Tae-jun, had been tortured and then shot by a firing squad when he returned to the DPRK to get his wife. An stated, "He was arrested right after the historic summit" between ROK President Kim Dae-jung, and DPRK leader Kim Jong- il. She added, "At about the time that everyone was chanting that Kim Jong-il was changed, my son was undergoing horrible torture." She charged that ROK authorities had discouraged her from publicizing her son's death for fear of offending Kim Jong-il. Park Sang-bong of the Commission to Help North Korean Refugees said that fleeing the DPRK had become "more commercialized, with a brokerage system under which people paid to leave," typically for about US$8,000.

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7. SOFA Revisions

The Associated Press ("S. KOREA MAY DETAIN U.S. SOLDIERS," Seoul, 04/02/01) reported that a revisied Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) giving the ROK more jurisdiction over US soldiers accused of crimes went into effect on Monday. The new SOFA allows US soldiers accused of murder, rape, arson, drug trafficking and eight other serious crimes to be turned over to ROK police upon indictment. Local police also may detain soldiers arrested in murder or rape cases without an indictment. The ROK, in return, has agreed to grant to accused US troops rights that they would have in the US, including the right to legal counsel and a speedy trial.

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8. US Spy Plane in the PRC

Reuters (Jeremy Page, "U.S. DEMANDS ACCESS TO NAVY SPY PLANE IN CHINA," Sanya, 04/02/01), the Associated Press (Christopher Bodeen, "SAILOR SAYS U.S. SPY CREW WAS MOVED," Beijing, 04/02/01), the Washington Post (John Pomfret, "U.S., CHINESE WARPLANES COLLIDE OVER S. CHINA SEA," Beijing, 04/02/01, A01) the Wall Street Journal (Greg Jaffe and Charles Hutzler, "U.S.-CHINA PLANE COLLISION RAISES TENSIONS AS BUSH CONSIDERS WEAPONS SALE TO TAIWAN," 04/02/01), The New York Times (Elisabeth Rosenthal with David E. Sanger, "U.S. PLANE IN CHINA AFTER IT COLLIDES WITH CHINESE JET," Beijing, 04/02/01), The Los Angeles Times (Henry Chu, Paul Richter, "U.S. SPY PLANE, CHINESE FIGHTER COLLIDE OVER SEA," Beijing, 04/02/01), and The Washington Times (Bill Gertz, "U.S. SPY PLANE LANDS IN CHINA AFTER COLLISION," 04/02/01) reported that US President George W. Bush demanded that the PRC grant immediate US access to the crew of a Navy spy plane forced to land in the PRC after colliding with a PRC fighter jet Monday in the South China Sea. A PRC sailor said Monday that authorities have moved the 24 crew members of a US Navy surveillance plane to a military guesthouse. US officials said that PRC officials said that the crew is safe. PRC Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan stated, "I hope that an adequate solution can be found." US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that PRC officials informed US Ambassador to the PRC Joseph Prueher that US officials would have "access" to the crew on Tuesday. He stated, "The PRC does not have a sound legal basis for detaining our people." US officials said that the last communication from the crew shortly after the plane made an emergency landing on Hainan Island was that armed PRC soldiers were boarding the aircraft. The PRC said that its plane crashed and the pilot was missing. Zhu Bangzao, a spokesman for the PRC Foreign Ministry, said that it was "international practice" for the Chinese F-8s to track the U.S. surveillance plane. Admiral Dennis Blair, head of the US Pacific Command, said however that the intercepts had become more aggressive recently, and that the US had protested PRC tactics before the collision. Blair stated, "It's not a normal practice to play bumper cars in the air." An anonymous US Department of Defense official said that the US would leave three destroyers in the region to "monitor the situation." The official stated, "They were scheduled to transit through there, what they're doing now is moving more slowly, loitering in that area." Two defense attaches from the US embassy in Beijing and a third diplomat from the US consulate in Guangzhou were in Sanya city at the southern edge of the island. Lieutenant Commander Sean Kelly, spokesman for the US Pacific Command, warned, "The entire aircraft is considered sovereign U.S. territory, and the Chinese are not to seize, inspect or board it without U.S. permission."

The White House issued a statement by US President George W. Bush ("STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON AMERICAN PLANE AND CREW IN CHINA," Outside Oval Office, 04/02/01) which said that US priorities regarding the downed spy plane "are the prompt and safe return of the crew, and the return of the aircraft without further damaging or tampering. The first step should be immediate access by our embassy personnel to our crew members. I am troubled by the lack of a timely Chinese response to our request for this access." He added, "Failure of the Chinese government to react promptly to our request is inconsistent with standard diplomatic practice, and with the expressed desire of both our countries for better relations."

The Washington Post (Guy Gugliotta, "U.S. EXPECTS RETURN OF PLANE, CREW," 04/02/01, A14 ) reported that Hurst Hannum, international law professor of the Fletcher School at Tufts University, said that the question of who was at fault for the midair collision between a US and a PRC plane is "fairly critical" to determining whether the US should get the plane back. Hannum stated, "Once you're in the other country's jurisdiction, you have to look for some reason not to be there." If the US plane was blameless, the US could say that the PRC forced it to land on Hainan Island, but if the Chinese plane did nothing wrong, then the PRC could say the aircraft "fell from the heavens, and it's ours." Hannum said that because there appears to be little dispute that the incident took place over international waters, then the US legal right to the plane depends on its ability to show the plane landed at Hainan only because PRC forced it down. Army Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Barger, a spokesman for the US Pacific Command, said that the collision took place over the South China Sea about 62 miles southeast of Hainan Island when two Chinese-built F-8 fighters approached the US plane.

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9. Taiwan View of Spy Plane Incident

The Associated Press (William Foreman, "SPY PLANE DISPUTE MAY AFFECT TAIWAN," Taipei, 04/02/01) reported that a Taiwanese Ministry of Defense official Kao Yang said told lawmakers Monday that the dispute between the US and the PRC over a collision between a US spy plane and a PRC fighter may make the US more sympathetic to Taiwan's requests for advanced weapons. Kao stated, "If both sides take a hard-line position on the (collision) issue, it might have a positive influence on our arms talks. If they resolve it quickly, we're not sure yet whether that will be in our interests or not." However, Philip Yang of National Taiwan University warned that serious US-PRC disputes can hurt Taiwan in the long run, as the US might then make concessions on Taiwan to please the PRC when the two sides patch up relations. Yang predicted, "China will definitely use the dispute over the collision as a bargaining chip," but said that he doubts the US would cave in to PRC pressure and reduce weapons sales list so as not to increase tensions. He also did not think that the incident would prompt the US to sell Taiwan more weapons than it had planned. He stated, "That reaction would be too extreme and would excessively accelerate tensions."

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10. US Arms Sales to Taiwan

The Washington Post (Thomas E. Ricks, "PENTAGON TO PUSH SHIP FOR TAIWAN," 04/01/01, A19) reported that a US Defense Department official said Saturday that the department is likely to recommend soon that Taiwan be sold aging Kidd-class destroyers but not Aegis-equipped warships. The official said that after an extensive study of the Taiwanese military, US military experts concluded that agreeing to sell ships that have Aegis radar systems would not provide a near-term significant increase in Taiwan's ability to defend itself, because the Aegis ships would not be delivered for several years and Taiwan's Navy might not be prepared to adequately operate them even then. He explained that the position calling for the sale of Kidd-class ships is a kind of intermediate position that would enable Taiwan's navy to begin training how to operate more modern radar and targeting systems than it currently has. Then in the following years, the decision on whether to upgrade Taiwanese capabilities by selling the Aegis system would depend on PRC behavior. The official argued, "The first worry is fleet air defense, not missiles," and that the Kidd- class destroyers are adequate to counter the current threat from PRC aircraft. The official stated, however, "The recommendation hasn't gotten to" US President George W. Bush yet.

The New York Times (Michael R. Gordon, "SECRET U.S. STUDY CONCLUDES TAIWAN NEEDS NEW ARMS," Taipei, 04/01/01) reported that a confidential review by US naval officers from the Pacific Fleet has concluded that Taiwan needs a significant infusion of new weapons. The review said that Taiwan would need the Aegis system by 2010, and also needed the Kidd-class destroyer as a stopgap. It also cited the need for new submarines as well as an underwater sonar array to detect PRC submarines. The study also concluded that Taiwan needed new submarines. Taiwan Foreign Minister Tien Hung-mao stated, "We are still hopeful that our request for the Aegis will be granted this year. But I think this is something we are willing to give the U.S. administration room to think about. In the end, if the Chinese fail to cooperate, the U.S. will be in a more justifiable position to say, hey, we gave you 12 months. You cannot just make unilateral demands without making any concessions." Naval analyst Norman Polmar stated, "The Kidds can handle the current Chinese antiship missile threat. But the Chinese future missile capability will require a much more sophisticated defense like the Aegis."

The Associated Press (Tom Raum, "BUSH NEARING DECISION ON TAIWAN ARMS," Washington, 04/01/01) reported that US officials, including Republicans in Congress involved in military issues, said that they expect US President George W. Bush to approve the sale to Taiwan of destroyers equipped with a sophisticated radar system, but that it be a scaled-down version of the Aegis system. They also said they expected Bush to attach some conditions to the sales, allowing his decision to be reversed if the PRC removes some of the missiles on its side of the Taiwan Strait. Representative Christopher Cox, Republica-California, stated, "Bush administration policy and majority sentiment in Congress are the same. We want to give the People's Republic of China every incentive to stop their military buildup. That means there should be consequences if they fail to do so -as well as incentives."

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11. Dalai Lama's Visit to Taiwan

The Wall Street Journal (Jason Dean, "DALAI LAMA'S TAIWAN VISIT PUTS CHINA ON THE OFFENSIVE," Taipei, 04/02/01) reported that the Dalai Lama began a visit to Taiwan on Saturday. The Dalai Lama stressed that his journey was aimed at religious teaching, not politics, and denied charges from the PRC that he hopes to use his time in Taiwan to push for Tibetan independence. He complimented Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian for his dealings with the PRC, saying that Chen has "handled this very tricky problem more realistically and more wisely" than before. He also credited former President Lee Teng-hui with helping accelerate the democratic changes that he called Taiwan's "greatest achievement."

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12. PRC Defector

The Washington Post (John Pomfret, "DEFECTOR DESCRIBED AS 'WALK-IN'," Beijing, 03/31/01, A14) reported that Chinese and Western sources said Friday that Xu Junping, director of the American and Oceanic Office of the Foreign Affairs Bureau of the PRC Ministry of National Defense who defected in the US last December was a "walk- in" whose defection was apparently not arranged before his departure from the PRC. The sources said that Xu, who studied at Harvard University in 1999 in a program for PRC officers, was closely tied to the Second Department, or intelligence bureau, of the General Staff Department of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). James Mulvenon, an expert on the PRC military at the Rand Corporation, stated, "Someone at his level, especially operating in a political hothouse like Beijing, would have access to a wide range of formal and informal information, ranging from high-level gossip about the military and civilian leadership to the basic stuff of daily life in the PLA. All of this information, high and low, would be extremely valuable to his current custodians, whoever they may be, since our collective knowledge about even the most mundane aspects of PLA life are so limited."

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13. US Policy toward Asia

The Associated Press (Christopher Torchia, "NORTHEAST ASIA UNCERTAIN ON BUSH," Seoul, 04/02/01) which said that ROK analysts expressed concern that the US President George W. Bush administration's stance toward the DPRK have worsened a slowdown in ROK-DPRK rapprochement. Kim Song-han of the state-funded Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security stated, "Bush is telling the world that they have a new sheriff in town." He predicted that US policy will "start out tough and then tone itself down." Victor Cha, a Korea expert at Georgetown University, stated, "There's more of an attitude (in Washington) of, 'This is what we're going to do and everybody has to adjust to it.'" He added, however, that a "definite direction" in US foreign policy has yet to emerge. The Chosun Ilbo predicted in an editorial that the focus of US military strategy will shift to Asia because "the new administration sees China as the greatest enemy." Yang Sung-chul, ROK Ambassador to the US, was quoted by the Yonhap news agency as saying last week, "Some worry South Korea has an excessive optimism toward the North's changes. But we have kept a prudent attitude."

The Associated Press (Barry Schweid, "POWELL FOLLOWING MODERATE LINE," Washington, 03/31/01) reported that analysts noted that US Secretary of State Colin Powell appears to be following a more moderate line that other members of the US President George W. Bush administration. Former Ambassador Richard W. Murphy said that the "starkness of contrast within the administration may endure," but added, "You are in a period when a basic re- examination of our foreign policy is still going on." Helmut Sonnenfeldt, a former White House and State Department official, said that the differences may partly be a matter of style. He noted that US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, tend to be blunt, while Powell worked in the past with officials whose "tendency was not to be hard-edged." US Representative Barney Frank, Democrat-Massachusetts, said that Powell and other moderates "are all being thrown out the window" by the administration. He argued, "There is a systematic reversal in all the areas so far where the moderates have tried to moderate."

II. Republic of Korea

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1. DPRK-France Relations

The Korea Herald ("FRANCE UNLIKELY TO HASTEN OPENING TIES WITH N.K.: VOA," Seoul, 03/31/01) reported that France is unlikely to hurry diplomatic ties with the DPRK, a US public radio station said Friday. The Voice of America (VOA) on Monday quoted a French Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying France will not hasten its steps to normalize ties with the DPRK if it does not take measures to reduce military tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The remark came ahead of DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Choe Su-hon's visit to Paris next week. Choe left Pyongyang on March 17 to visit a number of European nations, including France. He will stay in Paris from April 1-4. French President Jacques Chirac has also expressed concerns about the DPRK's human rights situation and its weapons buildup, the VOA pointed out.

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2. DPRK Foreign Relations

The Korea Herald (Kim In-koo, "NORTH PUSHES DIPLOMATIC OFFENSIVE," Seoul, 03/31/01) reported that the number of the DPRK diplomatic visits to foreign countries is on the rise in 2001, according to the ROK Ministry of Unification (MU). The Ministry stated that as of late March, the number of official visits rose by 40 percent to 24, up from 16 for all of last year. Visits to the nations in the Asia-Pacific region were most frequent as economic delegations paid visits to Malaysia in mid-January, the PRC in February and Australia and Brunei in March. Also officials in the foreign affairs ministry went to US and European countries between late February and early March.

Joongang Ilbo ("N.K. MAKES NEW ADVANCEMENT INTO TAIWAN," Seoul, 04/02/01) reported that a 4-member economic delegation from the DPRK entered Taiwan at the invitation of the Taiwan-DPRK Economic Technology Exchange Association on Wednesday March 28. The two sides are currently discussing the terms for launching a joint business venture as reported by the Korea Trade Promotion Investment Agency (KOTRA) on Saturday. The DPRK- Taiwan Association is to visit Formosa, Taiwan's biggest corporation, an industrial technology center and other high- tech zones of Taiwan and negotiate with the Taiwan-DPRK Association on jointly producing and promoting items that include PDP (Plasma Display Panel), bicycles, salted seafood, clothes and Korean ginseng. The two sides would especially put weight in establishing a joint five-star hotel with 300 rooms and on persuading Taiwanese corporations to make inroads into the DPRK's Tanchon Industrial district, which is reputed to contain an abundant reserve of magnesite, according to KOTRA.

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3. DPRK Criticize ROK Defense Minister

Chosun Ilbo ("N.K. ROARING AGAINST SOUTH KOREAN DEFENSE MINISTER," Seoul, 03/31/01) reported that the DPRK has vented its anger, this time against the new ROK Defense Minister after weeks of criticizing the US. The virulent criticism of Defense Minister Kim Dong-shin was unusual because the DPRK has muted its verbal attacks on the ROK's leaders after the inter-Korean summit in June. In his inaugural address, Kim called for closer military cooperation with the US and a strong defense posture aligned with the ROK efforts to engage the DPRK. "Any man of reason cannot be free to talk such rubbish," the newspaper said in a commentary carried by the official foreign news outlet, Korean Central News Agency. "His remarks were little short of begging foreign aggressors to hold up the process of reconciliation, cooperation and reunification of the Korean nation through war moves on the Korean Peninsula," Rodong Sinmun said. The ROK Defense Ministry declined to comment.

III. Japan

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1. Japanese-US-ROK Policy Coordination

The Sankei Shimbun (Takahiro Namura, "JAPAN, US, AND ROK AGREED TO CONTINUE POLICY COORDINATION TOWARD DPRK," Seoul, 03/27/2001) reported that Japan, the US, and the ROK held a meeting on March 26 in Seoul to coordinate policy toward the DPRK and agreed to continue their coordination, but that the US and the ROK disagreed on the pace of improving relations with the DPRK. US State Department representative Thomas Hubbard said, "The Bush administration is now reviewing policy toward the DPRK, but we want to take Japanese and ROK allies' views into consideration." As for the prospect for US-DPRK relations, Hubbard said that that "would be determined during the process of policy review in the future." During the bilateral meeting between the US and the ROK, held prior to the trilateral meeting, in response to ROK representative Im Sung-joon's request that US- DPRK talks be resumed swiftly and that the US support comprehensive reciprocity with the DPRK and US-ROK role- sharing in dealing with the DPRK, Hubbard said, "I cannot clarify my stance on comprehensive reciprocity and role- sharing before our policy review is over."

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2. Japanese-Russian Territorial Issue

The Yomiuri Shimbun ("MORI SAYS THAT CONFIRMATION OF JAPANESE-SOVIET JOINT DECLARATON WAS BIG ACHIEVEMENT," 03/26/2001) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori hailed the signing of the Irkutsk Declaration between Japan and Russia. Mori said at the Upper House Budgetary Session, "USSR secretaries did not necessarily acknowledge the 1956 Joint Declaration between Japan and the Soviet Union. It is a big step forward that Japan and Russia confirmed (the joint declaration) in a written form. (The Irkutsk Declaration) could be a great starting point for a peace treaty between the two countries."

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3. Japanese History Textbook

The Asahi Shimbun ("ROK FORIGN MINISTER ASKS JAPANESE AMBASSADOR TO BETTER TREAT TEXTBOOK ISSUE," 03/30/2001) reported that ROK new Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Han Seung-soo asked Japanese Ambassador to the ROK Kisuke Terada on March 29 to better deal with the issue of the Japanese history textbook. Han said, "We have to be careful not to undermine ROK-Japanese relations, which have developed positively these days." Han also said that he is willing to visit Japan as early as possible. The report added that that the ROK government held a meeting of high-ranking officials on March 26 to discuss how to respond to the ongoing textbook screening in Japan.

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4. ROK Comfort Women and Forced Labors

The Asahi Shimbun ("COURT REJECTS COMFORT WOMEN'S AND FORCED LABORS' APPEAL," 03/30/2001) reported that the Hiroshima High Court rejected on March 29 the appeal by 3 former ROK comfort women and 7 ROK female forced labors demanding that the Japanese government formally apologize and pay a total of 396 million yen compensation to them. The report said that the appeal was once supported at the first trial in August 1998, which was the first case to win among more than 40 similar cases. The 1998 decision told the government to pay the three former comfort women 3,000,000 yen respectively, but rejected the seven forced labors' appeal, said the report.

The Asahi Shimbun ("ROK CRITICIZES COURT DECISION ON COMFORT WOMAN AND FORCED LABORS," 03/30/2001) reported that in response to the rejection by the Hiroshima High Court on March 29 of the appeal by three former comfort women and seven forced labors during the war, an ROK organization dealing with the issue of female forced labors during the war announced, "Not only the issue of history textbook (malicious) revision, but also this court decision reflect rising nationalism (right wing slide) in Japan."

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5. Japanese-US Security Relations

The Japan Times (Kyodo, "US STUDIES JOINT PANEL ON SECURITY WITH JAPAN," Washington, 04/01/2001) reported that the US plans to study the feasibility of setting up a standing secretariat jointly with Japan to discuss matters pertaining to bilateral security arrangements. The report said that according to observers, the plan is another indication of the importance that US President George W. Bush places on the alliance between the two countries. The report pointed out, however, that the move could spark debate in Japan as the new body could touch upon the exercising of the right to collective defense, which the Japanese government maintains is banned by the Constitution. The proposed secretariat, chiefly comprising officials from the US Defense Department and Japan's Defense Agency and Self-Defense Forces, will probably be established in Tokyo. US officials stationed in Japan have carried out such tasks up to now for the most part. The U.S., however, is considering dispatching officials directly from the Pentagon and the Pacific Command to the proposed body. Matters listed as possible agenda items are strategic dialogue based on sharing of defense information and analysis, as well as arrangements of the two countries' defense policies and cooperation in UN peacekeeping operations. A US government official said that a secretariat where defense officials from both counties can regularly hold talks and make arrangements is needed to reinforce the US-Japan alliance. At present, bilateral dialogue on defense and security issues is held on a regular basis at various levels, but there is no standing entity for such discussions. The US has already made approaches on the matter to Japan's Defense Agency, the sources said. A source at Japan's Foreign Ministry, however, expressed reservations about the plan as it goes against Japan's policy of the ministry having exclusive control over diplomacy. The US plans to avoid calling the body a joint military headquarters because that would imply a unified command system, which could arouse concerns in Japan over the issue of collective defense. In the event the proposal does get off the ground, the two sides will also have to iron out such issues as how to harmonize the standing secretariat's role with those of existing bilateral security mechanisms.

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6. Japanese Politics

The Daily Yomiuri ("POLL: 77% OF VOTERS SEEK EN MASSE CABINET RESIGNATION," 03/27/2001) reported that almost 77 percent of eligible voters polled in a recent Yomiuri Shimbun survey said that Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori should officially announce his resignation and that his Cabinet should resign en masse. Among supporters of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), 68 percent were of the same opinion. A total of 3,000 people were randomly sampled nationwide and interviewed on March 24 and 25. The response rate was 65 percent. Half the respondents considered Mori's resignation to be a matter of course, while 42 percent said it is inevitable, according to the poll. Therefore, a total of 92 percent support Mori's resignation, while only 4 percent consider his resignation to be unnecessary. Meanwhile, 74 percent do not appreciate the achievements of the Mori Cabinet in its one-year term. When asked what issue they want the next cabinet to prioritize, 60 percent replied that financial reconstruction should be the cabinet's top priority, while 47 percent said that they want the next administration to stimulate the economy and boost stock prices, and 45 percent said that the next cabinet should focus on social insurance system reforms. Asked what quality they most look for in a prime minister, 67 percent said that it was leadership, while 38 percent replied a prime minister must have strong political ideals, and 35 percent said the prime minister must be an expert on the economy. Junichiro Koizumi was selected as the most qualified candidate for the premiership with 25 percent of the respondents' support, followed by former Prime Minister and current State Minister of Administrative Reform Ryutaro Hashimoto with 11 percent. About 5 percent support Hiromu Nonaka, a former secretary general of the LDP, while 4.7 percent chose Koichi Kato, also a former LDP secretary general. However, 30 percent said that they could not support any of the potential prime ministerial candidates. Of LDP supporters, 29 percent chose Koizumi, while 17 percent chose Hashimoto and 7 percent supported Nonaka, according to the poll. Among supporters of New Komeito, a coalition government partner, both Koizumi and Nonaka were chosen by 7 percent of the respondents. Although the approval rate of the LDP has been declining for four straight months, it increased by 5.3 points to 27.8 percent over the previous month, according to the poll. However, the approval rating of Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) dropped to 9.7 percent, 2.2 points lower than previous month. Those who do not have any particular political party preference registered 50.1 percent, 0.6 point lower than the previous month, according to the poll.

The Daily Yomiuri ("HASHIMOTO FACTION TO FIELD CANDIDATE," 04/01/2001) reported that the majority of middle ranking members of the Hashimoto faction of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) agreed on March 31 to field a candidate from their own group in the upcoming party presidential election. The consensus was reached at a meeting of faction members who had been elected to the Diet for three to five terms during a meeting at the faction's office in Tokyo. The meeting was part of an effort by faction leaders to reach a consensus among factions regarding a candidate for mid-April's election. The prime contender appears to be former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, who is currently a state minister in charge of administrative reform. During the meeting, most lawmakers said their faction should field a candidate to fulfill its responsibility as the party's largest group. Hashimoto stated, "Whoever runs, we should work in unison." During the meeting, however, no one mentioned the name of a specific candidate, said the report. The report added that another faction executive regarded as a strong candidate for the presidential race, former LDP Secretary General Hiromu Nonaka, has clearly stated that he will not run for the election.

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Timothy L. Savage:
Berkeley, California, United States

Gee Gee Wong:
Berkeley, California, United States

Robert Brown:
Berkeley, California, United States

Kim Hee-sun:
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Hiroyasu Akutsu:
Tokyo, Japan

Peter Razvin:
Moscow, Russian Federation

Yunxia Cao:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

Dingli Shen:
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

John McKay:
Clayton, Australia

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