When The Japan Times editorializes against a summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un (“Trump rolls the dice on North Korea” in the March 13 issue), one must ask: Why?

Having the two charismatic leaders engage in serious dialogue is preferable to their earlier juvenile shouting match.

Is The Japan Times miffed that the summit proposal came about despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s high-strung rhetoric?

Last May, Trump told Bloomberg News, “If it would be appropriate for me to meet with (Kim), I would absolutely; I would be honored to do it.”

The Japan Times characterizes the summit as a problematic roll of the dice. But daily life itself carries risks.

Japanese people, we are told by Yoko Ishikura in the opinion piece “The absence of the dame moto mentality” in the Feb. 13 edition, have “little notion” of the “go for it” mentality. Hence, high school students are advised not to apply for universities above their perceived level, or, as she puts it, “their ‘assigned group.’ ”

Abe, a conventional-minded politician, called repeatedly for “maximum pressure.” By contrast, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who seeks a unified Korea, took an important risk by paving the way for the meeting.

Trump and Kim are not run-of-the-mill politicians. Among other things, Kim is a murderous dictator, and the vulgar and impulsive Trump is under investigation by a special prosecutor.

The actions of both leaders, however, are fateful. Important lessons will be learned from the proposed summit even if it doesn’t produce immediate results.

A meeting of minds can bring long-term stability to the Korean Peninsula once Kim verifies that the U.S. can keep its word and help rebuild the country it bombed to rubble in the early 1950s.


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.

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