Japan contemplates starting World War III


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Japan may postpone North Korea resolution
By MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press Writer
24 minutes ago

Japan said Monday it was considering whether a pre-emptive strike on North 
Korea's missile bases would violate its constitution, signaling a hardening 
stance ahead of a possible U.N. Security Council vote on Tokyo's proposal for 
sanctions against the regime. The vote itself could be delayed for several days,
a news agency reported.

China asked Japan to postpone the vote until later this week and Japan is 
prepared to accept, Kyodo News agency said.

Japanese officials had earlier vowed to push ahead with a resolution that would 
impose sanctions on North Korea for its missile tests last week, but said Tokyo 
would not insist on a Monday vote.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters his government wants a 
vote on the measure "as soon as possible."

"I think we must send a message that's as clear as possible" to North Korea, he 

Japan was badly rattled by North Korea's missile tests last week and several 
government officials openly discussed whether the country ought to take steps to
better defend itself, including setting up the legal framework to allow Tokyo to
launch a pre-emptive strike against Northern missile sites.

"If we accept that there is no other option to prevent an attack ... there is 
the view that attacking the launch base of the guided missiles is within the 
constitutional right of self-defense. We need to deepen discussion," Chief 
Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said.

Japan's constitution bars the use of military force in settling international 
disputes and prohibits Japan from maintaining a military for warfare. Tokyo has 
interpreted that to mean it can have armed troops to protect itself, allowing 
the existence of its 240,000-strong Self-Defense Forces.

A Defense Agency spokeswoman, however, said Japan has no offensive weapons such 
as ballistic missiles that could reach North Korea. Its forces only have 
ground-to-air missiles and ground-to-vessel missiles, she said on condition of 
anonymity because of official policy.

Japanese fighter jets and pilots are not capable of carrying out such an attack,
a military analyst said.

"Japan's air force is top class in defending the nation's airspace, but 
attacking another country is almost impossible," said analyst Kazuhisa Ogawa.

"Even if Japan's planes made it to North Korea, they wouldn't make it back ... 
it would be an act of suicide," he said. "Japan has no capacity to wage war."

Despite resistance from China and Russia, Japan has pushed for the U.N. Security
Council resolution, which would bar nations from buying or otherwise receiving 
missile-related items, materials goods and technology from North Korea.

"It's important for the international community to express a strong will in 
response to the North Korean missile launches," Abe said. "This resolution is an
effective way of expressing that."

China and Russia, both nations with veto power on the council, have voiced 
opposition to the measure. Kyodo reported Monday, citing unidentified Chinese 
diplomatic sources, that China may use its veto on the Security Council to block
the resolution.

The United States, Britain and France have expressed support for the proposal, 
while Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso has said there is a possibility that 
Russia will abstain.

South Korea, not a council member, has not publicly taken a position on the 
resolution, but on Sunday Seoul rebuked Japan for its outspoken criticism of the

"There is no reason to fuss over this from the break of dawn like Japan, but 
every reason to do the opposite," a statement from President Roh Moo-hyun's 
office said, suggesting that Tokyo was contributing to tensions on the Korean 

Abe said Monday it was "regrettable" that South Korea had accused Japan of 

"There is no mistake that the missile launch ... is a threat to Japan and the 
region. It is only natural for Japan to take measures of risk management against
such a threat," Abe said.

Meanwhile, a Chinese delegation including the country's top nuclear envoy ‹ Vice
Foreign Minister Wu Dawei ‹ arrived Monday in North Korea, officially to attend 
celebrations marking the 45th anniversary of a friendship treaty between the 
North and China.

The U.S. is urging Beijing to push its communist ally back into six-party 
nuclear disarmament talks, but the Chinese government has not said whether Wu 
would bring up the negotiations. A ministry spokeswoman said last week that 
China was "making assiduous efforts" in pushing for the talks to resume.

Talks have been deadlocked since November because of a boycott by Pyongyang in 
protest of a crackdown by Washington on the regime's alleged money-laundering 
and other financial crimes.

Beijing has suggested an informal gathering of the six nations, which could 
allow the North to technically stand by its boycott, but at the same time meet 
with the other five parties ‹ South Korea, China, the U.S., Japan and Russia. 
The U.S. has backed the idea and said Washington could meet with the North on 
the sidelines of such a meeting.

Still, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill questioned just how 
influential Beijing was with the enigmatic regime.

"I must say the issue of China's influence on DPRK is one that concerns us," 
Hill told reporters in Tokyo. "China said to the DPRK, 'Don't fire those 
missiles,' but the DPRK fired them. So I think everybody, especially the 
Chinese, are a little bit worried about it."

The DPRK refers to the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic 
of Korea.

Hill is touring the region to coordinate strategy on North Korea. He has 
emphasized the need for countries involved to present a united front.

"We want to make it very clear that we all speak in one voice on this 
provocative action by the North Koreans to launch missiles in all shapes and 
sizes," Hill said. "We want to make it clear to North Korea that what it did was
really unacceptable."


Associated Press writers Audra Ang in Beijing and Chisaki Watanabe in Tokyo 
contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information 
contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or 
redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

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