Abe should open communications with North Korea

While it seems a good sign that Prime Minister Abe has asked his South Korean counterpart for help if Kim Jong Un attacks Japan, the request raises more doubts than solutions (“Abe to ask South Korean President Moon Jae-in for evac support in case of emergency on Korean Peninsula” in the Feb. 4 edition).

There are several reasons that things have come to this pass.

Of course North Korea has always been a nuclear bomb waiting to go off — but that has been a problem ever since nuclear bombs were invented and many countries threaten and are threatened by extinction, most of all South Korea itself.

However, an even more problematic reason is Japanese leadership’s adamant refusal to communicate.

U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested talking to North Korea, but Abe seems to want to avoid that even at the risk of nuclear catastrophe.

The families of Japanese abductees to North Korea themselves recently urged Abe to reach out to North Korea before their own life spans have run out and the chances of receiving true closure disappear forever, but Abe remains as tight-lipped as ever.

What disturbs me nearly as much is the fact that Abe and so many of his Cabinet are loathe to communicate candidly with anyone outside of their privileged inner circle, whose personal nuclear bunkers are the safest in the world.

When I see the Diet “live” on national TV , or some media event featuring Japan’s leaders, what shocks me the most is that they always give scripted answers to live questions.

This is the opposite of communication and the root of so many problems in Japan. In other words, the nuclear problem is also a problem of Japan’s refusal to try to communicate.

Until Abe deigns to talk face to face with Kim, without a piece of paper in his hand to read from, there can be no dialogue.

Currently, one of the few powerful people to try talking is former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who is currently doing his best to defuse the ticking time bomb of nuclear power in Japan, a kind of potential self-annihilation threat all in itself as witnesses the radioactive wasteland that was once Fukushima, where the LDP refused to conduct proper safety checks that might have prevented the disaster.

Koizumi is also the last Japanese leader to have attempted dialogue with North Korea. Instead of accepting this important lesson in communication, Abe is determined to destroy the meaning of communication and thus any real prospect of defusing Kim.

On top of this the government has its own secret funds which it uses without accountability while it exposes every single yen of hard-earned salaried workers’ pay to excessive scrutiny and ludicrous taxation to fund its own private purse and purpose.

Reinforcing the intent to avert communication at every turn, the official secrets acts are at Abe’s beck and call to cover up the next Moritomo-like scandal, which was one of the few skeletons in his cupboard that the public may ever even catch a glimpse of.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.