Slices of Japanese business, politics and life
North Korea hasn’t yet rejoined the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, but weekend comments from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the nation was mulling the possibility were replayed by Japanese media with the same gusto they gave reports on Japan qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.
Pyongyang, an initial member of President George Bush’s “axis of evil” in 2002, was removed from the U.S. blacklist last October, after agreeing to a series of nuclear site verification measures.
“Obviously, they were taken off the list for a purpose, and that purpose is being thwarted by their actions,” Clinton said.
Those actions include a nuclear test on May 25 and a raft of missile launches, all of which is expected to produce a new U.N. Security Council resolution as early as this week.
Nothing can get in the way of a cherry blossom party in Japan, not even North Korea’s test-launch of a rocket.
A couple weeks ago I blogged about Japan’s cherry blossom season and how the sakura-crazy nation was preparing to pop open the sake and party.
An anonymous Japanese official has raised eyebrows with off-the-cuff comments as the country prepares for an expected rocket launch by neighbouring North Korea.
First, the official questioned whether Japan could really shoot down a stray rocket if its territory was threatened, next he — well, most likely ‘he’ — compared the looming launch to a wayward golf ball that would prompt the shout of “Fore!”, the traditional warning to watch out on the golf course.
The Japanese and U.S. military are deploying land and sea-based missile interceptors and ships with high-tech radar, Japanese local authorities are holding drills and a Tokyo resident is dreaming of missiles as the date nears for a rocket launch by Japan’s secretive neighbour North Korea.
Pyongyang has said the launch planned for April 4-8 is for the peaceful purpose of sending a satellite into orbit, but the United States, South Korea and Japan see it as a disguised test of a Taepodong-2 missile that in theory could reach Alaska or Hawaii.