• Tsukuba, Ibaraki

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the 1998 test-firing of a long-range Taepodong 1 missile through Japanese airspace and the 2004 test-firing of a short-range missile into the Sea of Japan, the reverberations of North Korea’s planned rocket launch this month have not only caused tensions with its Asian neighbors, especially Japan, but also deepened doubts about defense and security in the region.

If successful, this huge technological achievement on the part of the impoverished and isolated North Korea will strip the Japanese of their sense of insular security and will profoundly affect everything from pressing economic priorities to defense and foreign policy in Japan.

More specifically, it will cause considerable anxiety regarding the long-term viability of nuclear deterrence and will sensitize Japanese defense intellectuals to the danger of technological threats to strategic stability. For years we’ve been watching with alarm this long-festering crisis that North Korea exacerbates whenever it wants to make a political statement. Is there any end in sight to this abusive relationship?

catherine oda

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