Monday, March 05, 2007

Adding on to Will's Blog...

While there were several articles in the Chosun Ilbo related to Abe's denial, I rather liked this one because I thought it was an interesting choice of picture for Abe (I'm sure it wasn't intentional...cough cough). The only article I could find with the JapanTimes was from the Associated Press and thus didn't give an insight into how the Japanese were interpreting or reacting to Abe's remarks.

Abe's timing couldn't have been more perfect. Not only is March 1st the day Koreans commemorate the anti-Japanese protests that occurred that day back in 1919, the 6PTs are currently ongoing (rather well in my opinion). The North Korean Vice Foreign Minister is in NYC to start bilateral talks with the U.S. and it could have been used as an opportunity for the U.S. to press North Korea about the abductee issue. However, because of Abe's statement, not only are the Koreans riled up but the U.S. has less diplomatic leverage to press North Korea on the abductee issue. After all, if Abe is denying governmental responsibility for comfort women, then what incentive does North Korea have to own up to its own acts?

Considering how upset the Japanese were (at least privately) that the U.S. hadn't pressed more on the abductee issue during the initial 6PT, I'm not sure how this is helping their cause. Also, since Japan is refusing to contribute any aid to North Korea unless the abduction issue is resolved, I foresee a huge stumbling block to the successful conclusion of the agreed framework.

But looking at it from a Japanese political p.o.v., since Abe's tough stance on North Korea prior to his election was what got him elected, it is understandable that he's trying to use the nationalist card again to help boost his ratings and the upcoming elections. Since it will be virtually impossible for Abe to win more seats as the successful snap election Koizumi pulled off in 2005 was unprecedented, he will have to try and minimize the loss of LDP seats as it could cast into doubt his credibility.

No comments: