NAPSNet Daily Report
tuesday, august 5, 2003

I. United States

II. Japan

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I. United States

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1. Japan Defense Agency Annual Report

The Associated Press (Kenji Hall, "JAPAN REPORT WARNS OF NORTH KOREA THREAT," Tokyo, 08/04/03) reported that citing a threat by the DPRK, a government report Tuesday urged improving the country's missile systems and bolstering ties with the US military. The study also suggested beefed up participation in U.N. peacekeeping missions, counter terrorism activities and the curbing of weapons of mass destruction. Terrorism dominated the Defense Agency's annual report, which also urged the military to raise its international profile. It cited North Korea's nuclear and missile programs as one of Japan's biggest security concerns, and recommended speeding up research on missile defense. Japan currently has 27 Patriot anti-missile batteries. But they can only down missiles with a shorter range and slower speed than the ballistic missiles North Korea is believed to be developing - including the Taepodong missile test-launched over Japan's main island in 1998. Japan should continue relying on the 50,000 US troops stationed here under a half-century-old bilateral security pact, Tuesday's report said. Japan's Defense Agency also raised concerns about China's sharply expanding military budget. Japan's overall defense budget remains among the world's largest. In 2003, Japan expects to spend $41 billion on defense, down 0.1 percent from 2002 and less than 1 percent of its gross domestic product. Critics say the government's backing of a more active Japanese military signals a shift toward remilitarization and violates the country's post-World War II pacifist constitution.

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2. US-Japan Mutual Assistance Treaty

The Associated Press ("US, JAPAN OK MUTUAL ASSISTANCE TREATY," Washington, 08/05/03) reported that the US and Japan signed their first-ever mutual legal assistance treaty Tuesday, an agreement that enhances cooperation in terrorism and other criminal investigations. "This agreement, I am confident, will provide the basis for close cooperation," said Attorney General John Ashcroft, who signed the document on behalf of the US. "By signing this treaty, we are making a great leap forward toward more institutionalized cooperation," Mayumi Moriyama, Japan's minister of Justice, said through an interpreter. Moriyama was joined in signing the treaty by Japan's minister of state and National Public Safety Commission chairman, Sadakazu Tanigaki, and Japanese ambassador to the US Ryozo Kato. The treaty makes it easier for investigators and prosecutors in both countries to take testimony, obtain evidence, locate fugitives or witnesses and get government agency records. The US now has more than 50 such agreements with nations around the world.

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3. Taiwan on US PRC Missile Report

Reuters ("TAIWAN SHRUGS OFF PENTAGON REPORT ON CHINA ARMS," Taipei, 08/05/03) reported that Taiwan's Defense Ministry said on Tuesday it is well aware of the military threat posed by the PRC, shrugging off a Pentagon report that warned Beijing was hard at work preparing for a potential war with the island. "Our military has gathered a lot of intelligence on China's army and its development. We know very well what kind of missiles they have and their scope," said military spokesman Huang Suey-sheng, when asked to respond to the Pentagon report at a news conference. The Pentagon said last Wednesday the PRC was preparing for a possible conflict in the Taiwan Strait aimed at bringing the democratic island of 23 million to its knees before the US has time to intervene. The PRC possessed about 450 short-range ballistic missiles and is expected to add about 75 annually over the next few years, the Pentagon said in its annual congressionally mandated report on PRC military power. The Pentagon estimated last year Beijing possessed 350 of these missiles and would be adding 50 per year. "We also know what threat China poses to us, and what the possibility is of an attack. We are fully prepared," Huang said without elaborating.

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4. Taiwan Defense Spending

Agence France-Presse ("TAIWAN TO SPEED UP 20 BILLION DOLLAR ARMS PROCUREMENT PLANS," 08/05/03) reported that Taiwan is to speed up a 10-year arms buildup project worth 700 billion Taiwan dollar (20.33 billion US) amid the PRC's military modernization efforts. The project would be launched in 2005, a year ahead of schedule, the United Daily News said Tuesday. The change was made public Monday when President Chen Shui-bian heard briefings by various government agencies, including one by Defense Minister Tang Yao-ming, on the central government's budget plans for year 2004, it said. The defense ministry declined to comment on the report. On the Taiwan military's shopping lists are eight conventional submarines, long-range early warning radar systems, and Patriot PAC-3 anti-missile systems, the paper said. Premier Yu Shyi-kun had guaranteed to the US when he made a stopover in New York last year that Taiwan would invest 700 billion Taiwan dollars on modern weaponry in the 10 years beginning 2006, it added. "Taiwan's parliament speaker Wang Jin-pyng felt the pressure when he visited Washington in July," the paper said.

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5. Yang Jianli Trial

Agence France-Presse ("BEIJING TRIAL OF US-BASED DISSIDENT YANG JIANLI ENDS WITHOUT VERDICT" 08/04/03) reported that an espionage trial of a US-based democracy activist, which is seen as an important test case for the new PRC government's views on dissent, ended behind closed doors without a verdict. Yang Jianli, who appeared at the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court after 15 months in detention, declared himself innocent of both spying and an additional charge of entering the PRC illegally, his lawyer said. "He used his right to defend himself in court and declared himself innocent of both charges," Mo Shaoping stated after the three-hour trial ended. The court will not announce a verdict immediately, but under normal circumstances it should be expected within six weeks, he said. The punishment meted out to Yang may help show whether China's political climate has changed after a new generation of leaders took over earlier this year, observers said. "The case might provide some perspective on new President Hu Jintao and the approach his administration will take towards dissidents," said Jared Genser, Yang's US-based legal adviser and leader of rights group Freedom Now.

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6. Japan Domestic Politics

Agence France-Presse ("JAPANESE FM TANAKA TO BE CLEARED OF WRONGDOING: REPORT," 08/05/03) reported that Japan's popular former foreign minister Makiko Tanaka is to be cleared of wrongdoing after prosecutors informally decided to waive an indictment of fraud against her, a report said. The reported reprieve comes nearly a year after Tanaka resigned her parliamentary seat over graft allegations relating to her state-funded secretary's salary. Prosecutors have determined that her secretary did in fact receive most of his state salary and there was no evidence Tanaka siphoned off any money for herself, the top-selling Yomiuri newspaper reported. They also said the unusual arrangement where the secretary's salary was paid through bus company Echigo Kotsu was at the secretary's own request, who wanted to maintain his status as a company employee. Tanaka, 59, was barred in June last year from attending official Liberal Democratic Party meetings and running as an LDP candidate in elections until June 2004 after refusing to cooperate with a party probe into the allegations she had misappropriated her secretaries's salaries. She has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

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7. PRC-ROK Relations

Agence France-Presse ("PRC FOREIGN MINISTER TO VISIT SEOUL NEXT WEEK," 08/05/03) reported that PRC Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will visit the ROK next week to fine-tune policy on the DPRK ahead of six-way talks on the nuclear crisis, officials said. During his three-day visit from August 13, Li is to meet his ROK counterpart Yoon Young-Kwan and other senior officials, the foreign ministry said in a statement Tuesday. Li and Yoon are to exchange "views on North Korea's nuclear problem," it said. The DPRK said Monday that six-party talks involving the DPRK and the ROK, Russia, Japan, the PRC and the US would take place "soon" in Beijing. Details and timing of the talks are still being discussed, but US and ROK officials have said they could come as early as this month. Other officials have mentioned September as a target date for talks.

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8. Inter-Korean Relations

Asia Pulse ("KOREAS TO POSTPONE PLANNED CONTACTS TO MOURN CHUNG MONG-HUN," Seoul, 08/05/03) reported that the ROK said Tuesday it will accept a DPRK proposal to postpone two scheduled inter-Korean contacts this week to mourn the late chairman of the ROK's Hyundai Asan Corporation. Chairman Chung Mong-hun jumped to his death from the window of his 12th floor office in Seoul on Monday in an apparent suicide attempt. His funeral is scheduled for Friday. The DPRK has high respect for Chung who has vigorously pushed inter-Korean economic cooperation. Hyundai's projects in the DPRK include tourism, cross-border rail and roads, and an industrial park. On Tuesday, the DPRK proposed that inter-Korean rail talks, scheduled for Thursday and Friday, be delayed by one week. The DPRK also suggested that plans to implement Wednesday four inter-Korean investment and other economic accords signed earlier be postponed. The North did not suggest a new date for the implementation. The ROK accepted the DPRK's proposal to postpone the railway talks and proposed the two sides put the economic accords into force next week, said Han Sang-il, a spokesman for the ROK's Unification Ministry.

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9. DPRK Hyundai Tycoon Death Accusation

Agence France-Presse ("NORTH KOREA SAYS HYUNDAI TYCOON MURDERED," 08/05/03) reported that the DPRK accused ROK conservatives of murdering a Hyundai executive found dead while under investigation for illicit payments of millions of dollars to the DPRK. Chung Mong-Hun, who was on trial in connection with the illegal cash transfer to the DPRK in 2000, jumped to his death Monday from his high-rise office building in downtown Seoul. Police said he committed suicide. "Chung's death was not a suicide in a true sense of the word, but a murder by South Korea's independent counsel and main opposition Grand National Party which oppose inter-Korean progress," DPRK said Tuesday in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Inter-Korean economic projects were in jeopardy as a result of the "murder" and tours to the DPRK resort of Mount Kumgang, operated by Hyundai Asan, would be suspended following the death, it added. Chung was one of the central figures standing trial in connection with Hyundai's transfer of 500 million dollars to the DPRK just before the 2000 inter-Korean summit. The DPRK charges were contained in a message sent by telegram to Chung's elder brother, Chung Mong-Koo, chairman of Hyundai Motor, and Kim Yoon-kyu, Hyundai Asan president, KCNA said. It was issued in the name of the DPRK's Asia-Pacific Peace Committee and other organizations that deal with inter-Korean relations.

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10. ROK Domestic Politics Corruption

Agence France-Presse ("HEAD OF SOUTH KOREA'S RULING PARTY QUESTIONED OVER CORRUPTION," 08/05/03) reported that the head of the ROK's ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) appeared before prosecutors probing his alleged involvement in a major corruption scandal, witnesses said. Party chairman Chyung Dai-Chul, the second most powerful man within the MDP next to President Roh Moo-Hyun, has been charged with receiving 400 million won (334,000 dollars) in bribes from a real estate developer. "I have already said it all. I don't have anything further to say," a grim-looking Chyung told journalists as he arrived for questioning at the Seoul district prosecution office, the witnesses said. Prosecution authorities have accused Chyung of receiving the money from real estate developer Goodmorning City in return for helping the firm obtain a government license for a construction project. Chyung, who led Roh's election campaign at last year's presidential poll, has admitted taking the money but maintained it was a regular political donation with no strings attached. Prosecution authorities need approval by the National Assembly to arrest Chyung, as a sitting member of the parliament controlled by the opposition Grand National Party. Chyung, a legislator from Seoul, is one of several prominent figures implicated in the scandal. Tak Byung-Oh, the chief secretary to Prime Minister Koh Kun, and Kim Young-Ioul, a former head of a local newspaper, have been arrested for influence peddling in the same case. Chyung's implication in the scandal was a serious blow to the MDP, which has been undergoing factional feuds between loyalists of ex-president Kim Dae-Jung and supporters of the current president.

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11. Russia in Asian Arms Market

Agence France-Presse ("PUTIN EYES MORE ASIAN MARKETS AFTER MALAYSIA ARMS DEAL," 08/06/03) reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin left Malaysia after wrapping up a 900-million-dollar deal to sell warplanes to the southeast Asian country and set his sights on more sales in the region. "With the delivery of the Sukhoi, hopefully it will promote Russian aviation technology to Southeast Asia," Putin said at the launch of the Malaysia-Russia Business Council. The centrepiece of Putin's first visit to this mainly Muslim nation is the signing of an agreement to supply 18 Sukhoi Su-30MK fighter jets to the Royal Malaysian Air Force. The combat aircraft forms part of a major arms procurement spree by Malaysia which includes French submarines, British and Russian missile systems and Polish attack tanks. The squadron of Sukhoi will join Russian-made MiG-29Ns, US-made FA-18/Ds and British-made Hawks in Malaysia's fleet, officials said Tuesday. Analysts in Moscow had predicted that Putin would use the trip to Malaysia, the first by a Russian president, to boost his country's position in the Asian arms market. Under fire for its nuclear cooperation with Iran, Russia is not keen to further rile the US by increasing its arms sales to the Islamic regime and is instead seeking alternate customers, they said. The Sukhoi deal is a sign that Russia is turning back to Asia after the relationship that flourished with the US after the September 11 attacks cooled over the US-led war in Iraq, said analyst Viktor Kremenyuk of the USA-Canada Institute in Moscow.

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12. DPRK-PRC Border Trade Resumption

Xinhua, "BORDER TRADE BETWEEN CHINA AND DPRK RESTORED," Beijing, 07/12/03) reported that border trade through Quanhe port in Hunchun city of N.E.PRC's Jilin Province and Wonjong-ri port (DPRK) returned to normal on 12 July. Trade resumed after the DPRK lifted restrictions on the entry of PRC citizens, which were imposed in April during the SARS outbreak in parts of the PRC. Quanhe was the biggest trading port along the Jilin-DPRK border, facing Wonjong-ri across the Tumen River and neighbouring the largest economic development zone of the DPRK. Quanhe has played an important role in trade between the two countries. In the first three months of 2003, the number of tourists passing through the port reached 56,000 and more than 30,000 tons of cargo went through the port. KBC NOTE: Cargo trade through Rajin-Sonbong and transit trade by sea to Pusan continued throughout - this was not interrupted by SARS restrictions. What did stop were border trade and tourism both of which have returned to normal levels.

II. Japan

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1. Japan-US Energy Talk

The Japan Times ("JAPAN, U.S. MAY CONDUCT FIRST ENERGY TALKS SINCE 1996," 07/25/03) reported that Japanese and US officials may hold a working-level meeting on energy, the first since 1996, Seiji Murata, vice minister of economy, trade and industry, said. Murata did not elaborate, but sources said the decision apparently reflects the US government's stepped-up bid to pressure Japan to withdraw from a large-scale Iranian oil development program. The meeting, if it takes place, would probably focus on the project involving Iran's massive Azadegan oil field, which is being pursued by a consortium of Japanese companies. The meeting might also cover the situation in Iraq and the nuclear power policies of Japan and the US.

Kyodo ("U.S. CONTINUES TO PRESSURE JAPAN OVER IRAN OIL PROJECT," Washington, 07/31/03) reported that the US government reiterated its concerns over Iran's nuclear program and an oil development project a Japanese consortium is pursuing in the country. Issues centering on Iran topped the agenda at a preliminary consultation for Japan-US working-level energy talks, Japanese government sources said. US officials said Iran needs to sign the International Atomic Energy Agency's Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which would open the way for stepped-up inspections of Iran's nuclear sites, according to the officials. Iwao Okamoto, director general of the Natural Resources and Energy Agency, and other Japanese officials, referring to the project involving Iran's massive Azadegan oil field, stressed the importance of pursuing oil development on Japan's own initiative.

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2. US Bases in Japan

Kyodo ("U.S. MARINE ADMITS AT OUTSET OF TRIAL TO RAPING WOMAN," Naha, 07/25/03) reported that a US Marine lance corporal admitted on the opening day of his trial that he raped and beat a woman in Okinawa in May. Jose Torres, 21, stationed at Camp Hansen, is accused of raping the woman on a narrow street in the town of Kin at around 3:15 a.m. May 25. He hit her once in the face, grabbed her hair, forced her onto a staircase and raped her, prosecutors told the Naha District Court. The woman suffered a broken nose and other injuries that required three weeks to heal, they said. Torres initially denied any wrongdoing when he was arrested June 18 but later admitted to the charges, they said. Following the rape of a 12-year-old girl by three US servicemen in 1995, the US agreed to give "sympathetic consideration" to the handover of suspects in serious crimes, including rape and murder, before charges are filed. He is the third serviceman the US military has agreed to turn over to Japanese police prior to indictment, based on a request from the Japanese government.

The Japan Times ("U.S. NAVY SAILOR HELD IN TOKYO ROBBERY," 07/30/03) reported that the Japanese police said they have arrested an enlisted US Navy sailor over the wounding of a Tokyo shop owner with a stun gun during a 10 million yen watch and jewelry robbery early last month. Petty Officer 1st Class Rick Miller, 26, has owned up to the stickup, police said. Miller is a crew member off the US Aegis cruiser Vincennes forward deployed to Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.

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3. LDP Presidential Election

The Japan Times ("HORIUCHI VOICES CONDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR KOIZUMI IN LDP RACE," 07/28/03) reported that Mitsuo Horiuchi, who heads one of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's major factions, said he will support Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's re-election as party chief if Koizumi changes his economic policies. "The reason I criticize the government's economic policy so severely is that I am prepared to fully support Prime Minister Koizumi if he changes his economic policy," Horiuchi, who also serves on the party's decision-making Executive Council, said in a speech in Tokyo. In his presentation at a workshop for LDP members nationwide, Horiuchi expressed support for the course the prime minister is taking in his overall structural reform plans, but suggested something is lacking. But Horiuchi reiterated his strong criticism of economic and fiscal policy minister Heizo Takenaka and expressed hope he would be replaced. Fellow group member Makoto Koga, former secretary general of the party, has indicated the faction is considering fielding a candidate to challenge Koizumi.

The Japan Times (Junko Takahashi, "KOIZUMI SAYS REFORMERS TO MAKE UP NEW CABINET," 07/30/03) reported that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi defied his foes, stating that if he wins re-election in the Sept. 20 LDP presidential poll, the subsequent Cabinet he forms will be made up of individuals who support his policies. At a news conference to mark the close of the ordinary Diet session, Koizumi said his key pledges in the Liberal Democratic Party poll will be to privatize postal services in April 2007 and to submit a bill aimed at privatizing public expressway companies in the next ordinary Diet session, which begins in January. "I will definitely continue on with my reform steps and will fight firmly those who try to nip the buds of reform."

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4. Japan-Iraq Oil Deal

The Associated Press ("IRAQ TO SELL MITSUBISHI 6 MILLION BARRELS OF OIL," 07/29/03) reported that trading house Mitsubishi Corp. has agreed to buy up to 6 million barrels of crude oil from Iraq over a five-month period, an official said. Mitsubishi's agreement with the State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) allows the Japanese company to import around 40,000 barrels of Basra Light crude oil a day beginning in August, company spokesman Yusuke Uchimura said. He refused to disclose the terms of the contract, which he said were still under negotiation. Mitsubishi's move follows similar deals recently struck by international oil majors. Two weeks ago, European firms BP PLC and Royal Dutch/Shell each agreed on a 10 million-barrel deal with Iraq, each expecting a shipment of 2 million barrels of Basra Light crude per month between August and December. SOMO, the state-run monopoly that controls Iraq's crude exports, also agreed to sell 6 million barrels under shorter spot contracts to ChevronTexaco, Petrobras of Brazil and Switzerland's Vitol. The three companies have agreed to ship 2 million barrels each by the end of July.

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5. Hiroshima A-Bomb Timing

Kyodo ("DATA CAST DOUBT ON TIMING OF HIROSHIMA A-BOMB DROP," Hiroshima, 07/30/03) reported that the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima by the US in August 1945 may have exploded about two minutes later than commonly thought, according to data found at a former weather station in the city. An atmospheric pressure graph recorded at the station about 3.6 km south-southwest of the hypocenter shows a bomb blast at 8:18 a.m. on Aug. 6, 1945, contradicting records from the US bomber Enola Gay that the atomic bomb was dropped at 8:15 a.m. and exploded about 43 seconds later. If the graph is accurate, it would mean that the bomb was dropped at around 8:17 a.m. "Meteorological data at that time were military secrets, and time was recorded strictly based on Japan Standard Time," Fumitaka Wakabayashi, head of the Hiroshima City Ebayama Museum of Meteorology, told Kyodo News. "Equipment error, if any, would have been within one minute, and I believe (the data) recorded the explosion time quite accurately," he added. Meanwhile, reports along with witness accounts in Japan indicate explosion times that range between 8:10 a.m. and 8:20 a.m. US documentation also fails to agree on the exact timing of the Hiroshima bomb.

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6. US H-Bomb Test on Bikini Atoll in 1954

Kyodo (Takuya Karube, "VICTIM OF U.S. BOMB TEST BREAKS SILENCE," 07/31/03) reported that after years of silence, a Japanese former fisherman exposed to radiation during the 1954 US hydrogen bomb test on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific has written a book that tells his own story of that almost forgotten incident. "I can't avoid writing about it, now that half of my fellow crew members have quietly passed away because of exposure to radiation," said Matashichi Oishi, one of 23 former crew members of the Daigo Fukuryu Maru (Lucky Dragon No. 5), which was showered with radioactive ash in the wake of the test. "The incident has been forgotten all too soon," Oishi said. "I feel very sorry for them because their miserable deaths were largely ignored by society." "A light like a lurid sunset suddenly appeared in complete darkness. Then white ash continued to fall for several hours. I did not know what was going on," Oishi said, adding that he has never forgotten the sight. Six months after Bikini Atoll, radio operator Aikichi Kuboyama became the world's first hydrogen bomb victim. His death marked the effective start of Japan's antinuclear movement, leading to the first world conference on atomic weapons in Hiroshima in August 1955. But when Oishi and the others were released from a Tokyo hospital in May of that year, they felt they never wanted to be in the public spotlight again. The number of publications about Bikini Atoll is also incomparably smaller than those that deal with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They were also not written by people who were on the ship, and the majority only cover the short period between when the blast took place and when a political settlement was reached in January 1955. Oishi's book, "The Truth of the Bikini Incident," sheds light on both his personal history and developments since the political settlement. At 263 pages, it is rich in detail and also reproduces diplomatic documents showing how Japan and the US dealt with the incident tactically in the context of the Cold War. "My anger is not only directed at the US but also at the Japanese government," Oishi said. "I really detested the US when I was exposed to the bomb's radiation. But that doesn't mean that I hate the American people." "What has irritated me more all these years is the way I and my fellow crew members were neglected by the Japanese government in its handling of the incident," he said. "Japanese authorities did their best to go hand-in-hand with US officials to hush up the incident and maintain cordial relations with Washington."

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