September 17 this year will commemorates the tenth year since conclusion of the Pyongyang Declaration between the governments of Japan and People's Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK). During these years, however, no positive advance has been made. Recently an official bilateral preparatory meeting was held late August in Beijing to agree to resume talks. The New Socialist Party of Japan (NSP) hopes the agreement will help to lead to negotiation to normalize diplomatic relations between the two countries.
RESUMPTION OF TALKS SHOULD BE A STEP TO NORMALIZATION
Settlement of Unfortunate Past
On September 17, 2002, the-then Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro and Chairman Kim Jong-Il of the National Defense Commission signed Pyongyang Declaration in which Japan regards with humility the facts of history that Japan had caused damages and sufferings to the people of Korea and the both sides confirmed to make efforts for an early normalization of relations and to commit to solve outstanding issues and concerns involving the two nations.
The declaration consists of preface and four provisions. Under Item One it states that the two governments determined to work to resume negotiation to normalize relations and decided they would have talks in October, 2002. They expressed to commit sincerely in solving outstanding issues, basing on the mutual trust, in the course of achieving normalization of the relations. Then three items more follow.
The four-item declaration confirms acknowledgment of the history that Japan caused tremendous damages and sufferings to the people of Korea and specifies various issues which include economic assistance, status of Korean residents in Japan, prevention of regrettable incidents that took place under the abnormal bilateral relationship (abductions), national security that would not threaten each other, cooperation for stabilization in the northeastern region of Asia and comprehensive solution for nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula.
The declaration won at that time 66% of support of the opinion poll, according to a survey conducted by the government. Many people hoped to normalize relations between Japan and DPRK.
In fact, however, after the consultation meeting held in October, 2002, bilateral talks had been suspended, and, after many complications, in June, 2008, the two governments began talks. But later communication has ceased for four years.
A meeting held early August this year of the Red Cross officials of the two countries and a subsequent preparatory meeting of the governments late August will lead to a scheduled official negotiation talk in September. The NSP expects the government's sincere efforts. Before resuming official talks, the two governments decided to put 'issues of interests of both sides' on the agenda.
So that coming talks may be successful the Japanese government must change its attitudes in the negotiation. It has clung exclusively to 'abductions of Japanese citizens and the nuclear issue', using threats and imposing sanctions against DPRK.
A proverb says, 'slow and steady win the race'. To establish relations based on 'credo versus credo', 'sincerity versus sincerity' and 'action versus action' is indispensable to open a path to normalization of the two countries.
Japanese Government Should Alter 'Strategy'
The government/Ministry of Foreign Affairs should rethink over how Japan is seen by the counterpart (DPRK).
DPRK stands face to face with the military troops of United States/South Korea on the 38 degree demarcation line and the both sides are technically on the war status. Meanwhile Japan has kept the military alliance with the Untied States, strengthening dynamic defense capabilities and enhancing military deployment in the southwest region of the country. Furthermore the government attempts to conclude a general security of military information agreement (GSOMIA) and an acquisition and cross-servicing agreement (ACSA) with South Korea in order to counter DPRK.
Last June the trilateral military maneuver was held among Japan, US and South Korea and in August the big scale US-South Korea exercise was held. Japan is covered by the nuclear umbrella of the United States and is potentially capable to possess nuclear weapons.
Unless Japan changes its strategy applied to the northeast region of Asia based on the Japan-US military pact, it will not be able to dissolve sense of mistrust of DPRK.
September 11, 2012