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Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

There is a great deal of debate in the Diet recently about Japan's military capability. The constitution of Japan states:

Japanese Constitution

Article 9.

Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

The interpretation of this is that Japan can not attack another country and in fact can not even shoot at anything until someone dies. So, if North Korea shoots a missile at Japan and it hits an unpopulated area, Japan can do nothing. If the missile kills someone, Japan can shoot the next missile down when it is over international waters. The military is pushing to have this law changed and the constitution amended.

In the Diet testimonies, the military said that they are currently not equipped to strike anyone anyway. The Aegis destroyers only have sea-to-air and sea-to-sea missiles and the fighter jets only have air-to-air missiles.

I currently do not know what my position is about rearming Japan, but interesting facts since Japan has quite a large military these days, but for what?


Russia got the bomb because the U.S. had it. China got the bomb because Russia had it. India got the bomb because China had it. Pakistan got the bomb because India had it. The North Koreans are very good at manufacturing ordinance, and they'll get the bomb because they think it's the best bargaining chip they can have. If the North Koreans get it, I think it's safe to assume that the Taiwanese and Japanese will want the bomb as well. And therefore, thanks to NK, Japan - which is one of the few, outstanding countries in the world that keeps the peace and keeps all of its promises, will be flung head first into the arena of a nuclear stand off with the rest of Asia.

Bush isn't doing much to help, either. By invading Iraq, he's conditioning other world leaders to rush towards bomb development. Hussein doesn't have a bomb, and look what happened to him. A nuke is the only insurance policy you can have against the possibility that the US government might decide to waltz in and topple your government someday.

I really worry about Japan. I wonder if she might be safer if the US military left, therby removing the temptation for NK to lob missles across the Sea of Japan.

It's hard to say. I spend a significant amount of time reading about North Korea and communicate with many people who are viewed by others as North Korea 'experts' (significantly, none of us consider ourselves to be 'experts'.. since so little gets out of North Korea relative to other countries.)

But there is a signifcant chance that Washington does want out of East Asia. In that case, I think it would be safe to say that the US would not feel at all threatened if Japan, Taiwan and (of course) South Korea acquired nuclear weapons capabilities.

At the very least, it is clear (to me at least) that the recent rumblings about re-assignment of the US troops in South Korea means to me that Washington appears to be at the verge of believing North Korea's insistence that we are headed towards nuclear war with them. This would require a substantially different troop deployment. The current positioning of troops is designed for deterring a conventional war, not a nuclear war. That is changing. I don't think that even North Korea feels that they could win this war, but as South Korea's increasing wealth and economic importance seems to be making Kim Jong Il's regime increasingly irrelevant to all the key players in the region except as a nuisance, Kim may decide that 'its better to burn out, than to fade away' so to speak..



In this situation, I *really* feel sorry for the North Korean people.. who have been lied to like you wouldnt believe for SO long.

When the Kim Jong Il regime falls, it will be like Rip Van Winkle for them..they are so out of touch with the modern world.

By the way, few people realize this, but Kim Jong Il's regime is actually quite vulnerable because of the extensive nature of the lies they have told to maintain their hold on power.

Several activists I know are collecting money to send literally millions of tunable AM radios (using proven 'leaky balloon' technology) into North Korea. (tunable radios are illegal there and the few fixed-frequency, legal radios must be registered and are subject to random, unnounced inspection.)

This is a project that IF done in sufficient volume and given some time, would almost inevitably succeed in destabilizing the Kim regime by exposing his lies to his own people.

If any of you reading this might like to help, contact me, and I'll ask the people doing this to get in touch with you.

Japanese rearmament seems to be inevitable, does it not? The real question would seem to be what form it takes. Could Japan concentrate on a missile defense shield? Or would it have to follow the most-bang-for-the-buck logic that was behind the nuclear arms race when it was started by the superpowers?
Japan is certainly not in the league of those seeking "insurance" against attacks by a WMD-policing US - so would it really have to follow in the nuclear tracks of the superpowers?

I am afraid I don't see the problem. If NK fires a missile at Japan and no one dies, why should Japan attack NK? Pride? Even if a few people gets killed, non-military retaliations is more appropriate than shooting missiles back at NK unless Japan has 'bunker-busters' capable of reaching Kim Jong Il's underground 'cities'. Will Kim Jong Il care if a few 'peasants' die? Heck, no.

If a missile lands in Japan and the people of Japan fail to prevent the ultra conservatives from changing the Constitution and rearming of Japan, everybody can flush East Asia goodbye. All three nations in the region, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea have the materials and the technology to build nukes in months. How will China and Russia react then?

If soldiers are willing to die for their country, why shouldn't average citizens involuntarily die for the peace of their country? NK missile landing on Japan will be the first real test of Japan's resolve formed out of past mistakes. Failing that test will just turn back the clock by 60 years and add a few more zeros to the death toll to come.

If north korea sends a missle to Japan I doubt if it will be carrying rose petals..



Kim Jong Il makes Saddam seem like a small-time criminal..

Megalomaniacs like KJI tend to want to take a LOT of people with them when they go. Read about the battle for Berlin in WWII to see what I mean.. This is qute possibly what may happen in Bagdad also..


Narcissists view kindness (to them) as a weakness. It only makes them meaner and more vicious. The only way to respond to them is first, with exposure (of their lies) and calculated indifference, and if that doesnt work, overwhelming military strength.

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