The South Korean military said Monday the soldier was trying to defect in the Joint Security Area of the Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ.
North Korean soldiers have crossed the border to defect at times. But it is rare for a North Korean soldier to defect by crossing the DMZ. North and South Korean soldiers stand meters away from each other.
The North Korean soldier left from a guard post at the northern side of Panmunjom village to the southern side of the village. He was shot in the shoulder and elbow and was taken to a South Korean hospital, said the South’s Defense Ministry.
It was not immediately known how serious his injuries were or why he decided to defect.
South Korean troops found the injured soldier south of the border after hearing the sound of gunfire. South Korean troops did not fire at Northern soldiers, a South Korean Defense Ministry official said.
The defection came at a time of heightened tension over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. North Korea has normally accused South Korea of enticing its citizens to defect, something the South denies.
Panmunjom and other DMZ areas are guarded by hundreds of thousands of troops from North Korea and the United Nations Command. The command includes troops from the United States and South Korea.
The area is a popular stop for visitors from both sides. American presidents often visit the DMZ during their trips to South Korea. President Donald Trump planned to visit the DMZ during his visit to South Korea. But bad weather prevented his helicopter from landing near the border area.
It is estimated that about 30,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953. But most of them travel through China.
In 1998, a North Korean soldier fled to the South through the DMZ, but there have been few incidents in recent years.
Earlier in 1976, North Korean soldiers with axes and knives attacked a group of soldiers in the DMZ, killing two American soldiers and injuring five South Korean soldiers. The U.S. then flew nuclear-capable B-52 bombers toward the DMZ as a warning to North Korea.
In 1984, North Korean and U.N. Command soldiers exchanged gunfire after a Soviet citizen defected by sprinting to the South Korean side of the village. Three North Korean soldiers and one South Korean soldier died in the gunfire.
When choosing 3 out of 6 numbers of 1, 1, 1, 5, 5, 5, and making a 3-digit number, you can make □ types of integer.
เมื่อเลือก 3 ใน 6 จำนวน 1, 1, 1, 5, 5, 5 และสร้างตัวเลข 3 หลัก จะสามารถสร้าง □ ชนิดของจำนวนเต็ม
US Brings Legal Action Against Chinese Company for North Korea Ties
The United States announced criminal charges and economic sanctions against four Chinese individuals and a Chinese company earlier this week.
The U.S. government said it acted to punish them for suspected support for North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
On Wednesday, a State Department official suggested that more Chinese companies and individuals could face investigation for suspected violations of sanctions on North Korea.
The State Department’s coordinator for Sanctions Policy, Daniel Fried, spoke to the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee.
He said, “It would also be useful if Chinese banks and companies understood that increasingly dealing with North Korean companies, especially those that are sanctioned, is going to be risky.”
Two days earlier, the Treasury Department announced criminal charges and economic actions against a Chinese seller of industrial machinery. It named four top officials of Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Developmental Company Limited (DHID).
The four include the company’s chairwoman, Ma Xiaohong. They are accused of plotting to avoid sanctions against North Korea, and using American financial businesses to hide the money they earned illegally.
Chinese officials also are investigating the company. They are looking at its connection with the Kwangson Banking Corporation, a North Korean bank. U.S. and United Nations have said the bank has provided financial services in support of North Korea’s weapons programs.
A State Department officials said, “This shows we can work cooperatively with China; we both see it in our interests to apply greater pressure on North Korea.”
On Tuesday, a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs official spoke to reporters about the U.S. action. Spokesman Geng Shuang said China was prepared to support U.N. resolutions against North Korea. The resolutions call for sanctions to punish the North for its nuclear and missile tests.
However, the spokesman expressed opposition to other countries using their own laws against companies or people within China.
“I want to stress that we oppose any country enacting so-called ‘long-arm jurisdiction,’ using its own domestic laws against a Chinese entity or individual,” he said.
In March, China agreed to the strongest U.N. Security Council sanctions yet to limit trade with North Korea.
The council's members have approved other actions to punish the country for its nuclear activities and missile program. Those restrictions have largely halted North Korean trade with countries other than China.
North Korea has faced severe international sanctions to punish the country for its nuclear activity and missile program.
Those restrictions have largely halted North Korean trade with countries other than China.
However, new research suggests that North Korean state-operated businesses are using middlemen in China to avoid sanctions.
I’m Mario Ritter.
This story was written from reports by Pete Cobus and Nike Ching for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
Words in This Story
entity –n. a legal business or organization, something that exists by itself and is separate from other things
middlemen –n. people who buy goods from a producer and sell them to someone else
War-end anniversary start for constructive peace, prosperity
Today marks the 71st anniversary of the end of World War II. This day offers an opportunity to mourn the 3.1 million people who died in the war and renew our vow for peace.
A government-sponsored memorial service for the war dead will be held at the Nippon Budokan hall in Tokyo’s Kitanomaru Park.
Aug. 15 has long been established as the anniversary of the war’s end, marking the same day in 1945 when Emperor Showa told the people of the war’s termination.
Strictly speaking, however, the end of all combative activities was formalized on Sept. 2 that year. Aboard the USS Missouri, which was anchored in Tokyo Bay, representatives of Japan and the Allied Powers signed an instrument of surrender on that day.
Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima
The Battleship Missouri, preserved at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, is open for public viewing. Located at the bottom of the sea nearby, the USS Arizona, the battleship that was sunk during the Japanese surprise attack on the harbor, is the resting place of more than 1,100 officers and sailors.
The cry of “No more Hiroshimas” can be answered with “Remember Pearl Harbor!” The atomic bombings and the Pearl Harbor attack are thorns in an unfortunate piece of Japan-U.S. history.
During a visit to Pearl Harbor in 1997, then Chinese President Jiang Zemin made a speech in which he said the Chinese and the Americans had “stood side by side in the fight against the fascist invasion.” His speech was intended to emphasize cooperation between the United States and China, and thereby drive a wedge into the Japan-U.S. alliance.
However, both Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima are being transformed into a theater of reconciliation.
Since 2013, a tiny folded paper crane has been displayed in a corner of the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. The origami crane, produced by the late Sadako Sasaki, a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, was donated by her bereaved family to the memorial. The Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is modeled on Sasaki.
The city government in Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture − birthplace of Isoroku Yamamoto, commander in chief of the prewar Combined Fleet, who led the Pearl Harbor raid − has conducted exchange activities with Honolulu since the two cities established a sister-city relationship in 2012.
In a memorial ceremony held in August 2015, the 70th year of the postwar period, fireworks from Nagaoka were set off in Pearl Harbor’s night sky, accompanied by a prayer for peace.
A visit to Hiroshima by U.S. President Barack Obama in May was the result of a wise decision made despite persistent opinion in the United States that the atomic bombings were justified. His 17-minute remarks went right to the hearts of many people. Although the Japanese side has not accepted this inhumane action, it has not demanded an apology from the United States.
Obama’s historic visit symbolized the mature nature of Japan-U.S. relations. This has been founded on a relationship of trust built over the years by the two allies, which share such values as freedom, democracy and human rights.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement last August expressing anew “remorse and apology” for Japan’s wartime actions has been taken positively by the United States and many other countries.
The current stable bilateral relations between Japan and the United States should be developed further.
In contrast to the United States, China continues to use the historical perception issue as a diplomatic card. When Obama visited Hiroshima, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said bluntly that “Nanjing should not be forgotten and deserves even more attention.”
China against intl order
China has unilaterally asserted that 300,000 people were killed during the Nanjing Incident and has had “Documents of the Nanjing Massacre” added to the UNESCO’s Memory of the World list.
On the anniversary of the country’s “victory” in the “War of Resistance Against Japan” last September, China held a military parade in front of about 30 heads of state and leaders of the world, emphasizing China as a “victorious nation” in World War II.
Yet China’s foreign policies as a “victor country,” in which it proclaims that it backed the international order, while trying to change the international maritime order in the East and South China seas through force, has not won empathy from the international community.
South Korea, which had attempted to join hands with China in addressing issues related to historical perception, has shifted its stance to improve its relationship with Japan, following the bilateral deal Japan and South Korea reached late last year on the issue of the so-called comfort women. Japan will contribute \1 billion to a foundation set up by South Korea to support former comfort women as early as this month.
Yet a support group for former comfort women and others have not relaxed their stance of opposing the foundation. Also, a comfort woman statue was unveiled at a ceremony in Australia early this month, following similar ceremonies in the United States. The misperception that these women were forcibly taken by the now-defunct Imperial Japanese Army prevails in the world even today.
The Japanese government must continue to appropriately refute distortions of various historical facts related to the war. It is also important to urge China and other countries to abide by the rules of the international community.
Efforts must also be made to resolve the issue of the northern territories with Russia.
A more strategic approach is required for Japan to resolve pending postwar issues with Russia, which remain unsettled even after the passage of 71 years since the end of the war, and conclude a peace treaty.
After Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014, European countries and the United States continue to impose sanctions against that country. In the meantime, Abe has been exploring ways to resolve the territorial issues through repeated talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Abe will visit Russia’s Far East early next month at the soonest.
By pursuing constructive relations with other countries, the peace and prosperity that Japan has been building since the end of the war should be made more solid. Such efforts will also contribute to responding to hopes of those who lost their lives during the war.
(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 15, 2016)
EDITORIAL: Koike must keep promise, push policies that help Tokyo citizens
Former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike was elected Tokyo’s new governor on July 31, becoming the first female chief of the capital’s government. We hope Koike will capitalize on her trademark ability to send out effective messages in her role as the public face of Japan’s capital.
Koike won a landslide victory in the gubernatorial election despite failing to receive the endorsement of her Liberal Democratic Party, which fielded another candidate. The ruling party’s decision, based primarily on its partisan interests, probably provoked a backlash among voters in Tokyo.
The process in which opposition parties led by the Democratic Party chose a unified candidate also confused many voters.
During her campaign, Koike pledged to put priority on the interests of individual citizens. She should be true to her words and push through reforms to shift the focus of Tokyo’s policymaking from the interests of specific organizations to those of the entire population of the capital.
Koike needs to provide leadership to resolve a wide range of tough policy challenges, from the rapidly aging population to disaster preparedness for a huge earthquake that many experts warn could occur directly under Tokyo.
In particular, she must immediately review the financing plan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, focusing on the capital’s contribution. The total cost for the event, initially estimated at 700 billion yen ($6.8 billion), is now expected to balloon to 2 trillion yen or even 3 trillion yen. The challenge for Koike is to figure out ways to reduce the cost and decide on an appropriate burden for Tokyo.
Both the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the LDP members of the metropolitan assembly are calling for an increase in the capital’s share of the cost burden, emphasizing Tokyo’s responsibility due to its bid to host the event.
Discussing the issue, Koike criticized the Tokyo government’s opaque policymaking process as a “black box” and called for greater transparency. The issue of financing the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics will test her commitment to addressing the issue.
In an Asahi Shimbun survey of voters in Tokyo, “education and child-care support” was cited by the largest number of respondents as the policy area that they wanted the new governor to prioritize.
Tokyo’s child-care support for its citizens has national implications. Many young people who moved from rural areas to Tokyo are giving up having children because of an unfavorable environment for rearing children. This problem is accelerating Japan’s demographic decline.
During her campaign, Koike proposed various ideas to solve the problem of the estimated 8,500 children on waiting lists for day-care centers. Her ideas included the use of land owned by the metropolitan government and higher pay for child-care workers. Koike needs to make steady efforts to deal with this challenge.
On the other hand, Koike talked little about education.
She once argued that tragic incidents involving children, such as murders of family members, were a result of Japan’s “self-deprecating education” in the postwar period.
The Japan Society for History Textbook Reform, an organization devoted to helping the nation “overcome masochistic historical views,” backed Koike in the election, saying she was the only major candidate who supported its activities.
The law on regional educational administration was revised in 2014 to enhance the power of local government chiefs over education policy decisions. Instead of using her power as the governor to promote education based on specific values, Koike should serve as a champion of “diversity,” which she pledged to promote, in education.
In announcing her candidacy, Koike emphasized she was ready to confront the LDP in the metropolitan assembly. We welcome her stance if that means true competition for better, citizen-focused policies through serious debate at the assembly.
But we have had enough of the petty political fights over parochial interests.
After the resignation of two Tokyo governors--Naoki Inose and Yoichi Masuzoe--amid scandals, there is no room for further stagnation in the capital’s efforts to tackle its key policy challenges.
EDITORIAL: BOJ must free itself from the shackles of state policy
The Bank of Japan has decided to open the monetary spigot further. The central bank said July 29 that it will double its annual purchases of exchange-traded funds (ETF) to 6 trillion yen ($58.8 billion).
The BOJ’s action came as a response to a request for further monetary expansion from the Abe administration, which will soon unveil a huge package of policy measures to stoke economic growth. The program will come in at 28 trillion yen.
The central bank has already taken radical steps to pump money into the economy, by setting negative interest rates and making massive purchases of government bonds. As experts have warned that expanding these measures would be ineffective and even harmful, the BOJ, apparently under pressure to play ball with the government, resorted to one of the few remaining options.
The thinking behind the monetary policy is to ensure that the Japanese economy will continue stable and sustained growth.
It is doubtful whether the central bank’s latest move will serve this purpose.
In the latest of its quarterly “Outlook for Economic Activity and Prices” report, released on July 29, the BOJ said the economy “has continued its moderate recovery trend” and “is likely to be on a moderate expanding trend.”
A clutch of economic indicators confirmed the BOJ’s assessment, indicating the economy is on a stable footing. The ratio of job offers to job seekers has risen above 1 in all the 47 prefectures for the first time since such records started being kept.
Even though there is a degree of uncertainty in European and emerging economies, no compelling case can be made for putting together an outsized package of economic stimulus measures at this moment. The BOJ should have taken exception to the administration’s plan, but the central bank has instead provided support to the administration through the additional monetary easing.
The BOJ deserves to be criticized for following the government’s lead into a questionable move.
Two of the nine members of the BOJ’s Policy Board, which makes the bank’s policy decisions, voiced opposition to the proposal to increase the purchases of ETFs, investment vehicles traded on stock exchanges.
They argued, quite reasonably, that the step would have negative effects on price formation in the market. But such dissenting voices within the central bank’s policy-making body are now more unlikely to be heard than before because the Abe administration has replaced retiring members with supporters of the prime minister's "Abenomics" economic policy. The two members opposed to the latest action are both private-sector economists who joined the Policy Board before Shinzo Abe returned to power in December 2012.
If the Policy Board is dominated by similar-minded members, it will lose its ability to check the aggressive and controversial “different dimension” monetary expansion policy that has been promoted by BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda.
We are concerned that the BOJ might become even more inclined to adopt a monetary policy supportive of the administration’s agenda.
But the Policy Board should be given credit for refraining from an expansion of the negative interest rate policy, which could put an additional strain on the financial health of banks, and also from an increase in the amount of government bonds bought by the BOJ, which could be seen as the central bank’s attempt to finance government spending.
Markets had warned that failing to take these steps would trigger the yen’s upswing as well as a major stock market decline. But this view itself reflects a distorted relationship between monetary policy and financial markets.
The BOJ’s excessive monetary expansion is now doing more harm than good to both companies and households.
The negative interest rate policy has delivered a serious blow not just to banks but also to pension funds whose investment plans have gone awry due to the measure.
To bring its monetary policy back to a normal state, the BOJ should start mapping out an exit strategy for its different dimension monetary easing program as soon as possible.
China’s disregard for international law glaringly apparent at ASEAN
Beijing continues to reject the court of arbitration’s decision dismissing the country’s self-serving claims that its sovereignty covers almost all the area in the South China Sea. We believe such a high-handed stance can never be accepted.
Foreign ministers gathered for meetings of the East Asia Summit − Japan, the United States, China and Southeast Asian countries are among the members − and the ASEAN Regional Forum.
Regarding Beijing’s moves to militarize the South China Sea, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for China to respect the ruling, saying, “It is an arbitration, the results of which ... is legally binding.”
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida followed suit, stressing, “Parties concerned should comply with the court of arbitration, which will contribute to solving the issue.”
It is crucial for Japan, the United States and other countries concerned to work together to keep urging China to abide by the ruling.
During a meeting with Kishida, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for Japan to be discreet in word and deed because Tokyo is “not a party concerned in the South China Sea issue.” This cannot be overlooked.
It is nothing less than in the common interest of the international community to maintain order in the South China Sea based on the rule of law, and ensure freedom of navigation. We regard Wang’s claims as unreasonable.
Following the ruling, Beijing announced that it had sent new bombers on patrol around the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, which is close to the Philippines. The country said it will regularly conduct such missions, and has also expressed a policy to continue building artificial islands in the area. A series of such moves will only heighten tension.
Ahead of the EAS meeting, foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations issued a joint statement at their gathering, which said they “remain seriously concerned” over current developments in the South China Sea. The document failed to directly refer to the ruling because of strong opposition from Cambodia, which receives huge amounts of economic assistance from China.
“Only one country mentioned the court of arbitration during this meeting,” Wang said, with an eye on the Philippines. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s administration, which suffered a serious diplomatic setback from the ruling, apparently believed that it was able to regain lost ground by splitting ASEAN members.
We suspect that China is also drawing up a scenario to woo the Philippines, which has just undergone a change of administration, to set aside the ruling and hold talks.
Wang announced that China had set a target of completing the establishment of a code of conduct with ASEAN − which would legally bind moves by countries concerned in the South China Sea − by the first half of next year. Beijing’s reluctance has so far hampered talks on the envisioned set of rules between the two sides.
China presented the target apparently with the aim of fending off criticism from ASEAN. We cannot believe that China, which disregards international law, will seriously engage in the establishment of multinational rules. Countries concerned should beef up pressure on China to give the code of conduct more teeth.
(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 27, 2016)
EDITORIAL: ‘Brexit’ vote must not trigger wave of global nationalism
The British people’s decision to pull their country out of the European Union has sent shock waves across the world.
The stunning decision could turn out to be the biggest tectonic shift in the world order since the end of the Cold War.
A majority of votes cast in the June 23 referendum on whether to leave the EU or remain in the bloc were for “Brexit.” Britons have decided that their country should not be part of an integrated Europe.
Since the end of World War II, Europe has moved steadily toward integration. Britain’s withdrawal from the EU will be a historic development that runs counter to this movement, launched with a pledge of no more war in Europe.
Britain is the second largest economy in Europe and has unique global influence, a legacy of the British Empire. Its secession from the EU will have immeasurable effects on the entire world.
The outcome of the referendum is also a sign of the British people's will to resist globalization, which has accelerated since the end of the Cold War. They have run out of patience with the trend of many countries sharing rules on important issues such as immigration and trade.
This anti-globalization sentiment is, however, not unique to Britain. In the United States and in other parts of Europe, groups trying to take advantage of growing public resentment toward globalization to promote their political agenda for closing the doors of their nations are gaining ground.
At a time when countries should make united efforts to counter burgeoning narrow-minded nationalism, Britain has opted to take the path of expanding the scope of its unilateral actions. In mapping out its future course, Britain will have to navigate through uncharted waters.
No matter how the country’s negotiations with the EU over its withdrawal pan out, the two sides should not lose sight of the importance of maintaining close cooperation.
Britain and the EU can secure mutual benefits and contribute to stability in the world only when they work closely together to tackle challenges.
We strongly hope that the two sides will figure out a way to build a new constructive relationship without undermining the movement toward European integration.
CHALLENGE IS HOW TO HEAL THE DIVISION
The outcome of this referendum should not be allowed to serve as a starting point for a new, dark chapter of world history in which citizens around the world become estranged from one another.
The first thing is to heal the rift in British society. The bitterly fought referendum left the nation sharply divided.
Campaign debates were often dominated by remarks designed to emphasize the threats of an economic crisis or immigrants.
Amid heightened tensions due to a heated confrontation between the two camps, a member of parliament in the Remain camp was shot to death.
British society is now gripped by a dangerously charged atmosphere.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who passionately called for votes to remain in the EU, has announced he will step down by autumn.
It is, to be sure, natural for the country to have a new leader to draw up a road map for the future.
But his own Conservative Party has been divided between the Leave and the Remain camps. Scotland, which has a strong sense of belonging to the EU, could make a fresh attempt to become independent.
Britain seems to be in for a prolonged period of political turmoil.
Both Cameron and his successor will have to act swiftly to heal the rift within the country and create a conductive environment for cool-headed discussions on the country’s relations with the EU and its position in the world.
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION KEY
Britain, which had a mighty empire in the 19th century, entered a period of serious stagnation in the late 20th century. It was able to shed stagnation and attain new prosperity because it opened its door to the world and rode the wave of globalization to enhance its competitiveness, especially in the financial services industry.
But British citizens who have not benefited from their country’s economic growth have become increasingly disgruntled with the system and worried about their future. As a result, British society as a whole has developed an inward-looking attitude.
Besides people drawn to the reactionary argument that Britain should regain “sovereignty,” many other Britons voted for leaving the EU because of their economic discontent.
Despite the fact that their country has achieved economic growth due to the lowered barriers of national borders, British people have made clear their wish to see high border walls built up again.
This twisted public psychology has also been behind the Trump Phenomenon in the United States and the recent rise of rightist political forces in many other European countries.
Britain’s decision could trigger a wave of movements toward secession from the EU in other member countries.
If in such a political climate Trump is elected U.S. president and Marine Le Pen, the leader of the rightist National Front of France, is elected French president next year, the world will be filled with policies of intolerance.
The situation where the world is dominated by this inward-looking trend must be prevented.
The spread of narrow-minded and self-centered unilateralism among countries will make it impossible for the world to grapple with challenges such as global warming, the proliferation of terrorism and loopholes in taxation.
It is difficult for any industrial nation to maintain its political health.
Low economic growth, declining welfare standards due to fiscal strains and widening income gaps are formidable problems common to industrial nations. Politicians everywhere are struggling to find effective solutions to these problems.
That’s why expanding international cooperation is the only option for countries in tackling these tough challenges.
All nations should reflect afresh on the fact that the only way to deal with problems transcending national borders is through cooperative actions based on collective experiences and wisdom.
We hope Europe will not lose its solid status as a strong, consistent voice for freedom and democratic values.
RESPOND TO MARKET TURBULENCE
The impact of Britain’s decision to leave the EU has roiled stock and currency markets. Leading nations should first focus on responding to confusion in financial markets.
In addition to Britain and the EU, the Group of Seven major industrial nations, which also includes Japan and the United States, should play the leading role in securing emergency policy coordination to calm the unnerved markets.
The central banks of the major countries, including the Bank of Japan, are apparently prepared to cooperate in providing cash-strapped financial institutions with dollars.
If an unpredictable situation or the necessity of emergency responses arises, they should take flexible and powerful actions in solid cooperation to prevent a full-blown financial crisis.
EDITORIAL: The meaning behind June 23 should be shared beyond Okinawa
Okinawa recalled its horrifying experiences in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa and consoled the spirits of the victims on June 23, the 71st anniversary of the end of the bloody warfare. June 23 is a prefecture-designated holiday marking the end of organized fighting by Japanese troops deployed to the southern island prefecture.
More than seven decades since the end of the devastating battle in the final days of the Pacific War, many scars are left unhealed in Okinawa.
U.S. military bases, for instance, occupy 10 percent of the prefecture’s land. Unexploded shells are still discovered frequently in various parts of the prefecture. The remains of the war dead are found in road construction sites.
More than 100 sets of remains are uncovered every year. In the last fiscal year, which ended in March, the remains of 103 bodies were discovered. The numbers for the preceding two years were 194 and 263, respectively.
More than 200,000 people died in the Battle of Okinawa. By March this year, 185,224 sets of remains of Japanese war dead had been laid to rest at the national cemetery for people who died in the Battle of Okinawa in the Mabuni district of Itoman, the site of the last major fighting in the warfare, according to the prefectural government.
The remains of nearly 3,000 Japanese victims have yet to be found.
In the Battle of Okinawa, 66,000 Japanese soldiers and civilians in the military services from other parts of Japan died along with 28,000 from Okinawa Prefecture. In addition, an estimated 94,000 non-military residents of the prefecture, or a quarter of the prefectural population, were killed.
Although many remains are still waiting to be discovered, the task of gathering them has been left to private-sector volunteers. As a result, the work has been proceeding at a glacial pace.
A law mandating the government to collect all remains of the war dead finally came into force in April.
In response, the government has decided to make intensive efforts to collect the remains over the next nine years. The government should take this opportunity to make up for lost time.
The June 23 official memorial ceremony, sponsored by the prefectural government, was held at the Peace Memorial Park in Mabuni. But a spirit-consoling service was also held in front of the gate of Camp Schwab, a U.S. military base in the Henoko district of Nago.
Immediately after the Battle of Okinawa ended, the U.S. military established an internment camp for Japanese civilians. Many residents of the prefecture, ranging from an estimated 20,000 to 40,000, spent several months in the camp. A number of civilian prisoners of war died in the camp from malaria, malnutrition and other reasons.
The construction of Camp Schwab started around 1956. But a citizens group opposed to the proposed relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from Ginowan in central Okinawa Prefecture to Henoko started holding the spirit-consoling service last year, believing there are still unfound remains within the camp.
With the law promoting the collection of war dead remains taking effect, the government has pledged to carry out such work in U.S. bases as well.
The U.S. military should cooperate with efforts to ensure an early completion of the project.
People in Okinawa are still suffering from the excessive burden of hosting so many U.S. military bases within their prefecture. The central government has stuck stubbornly to the Futenma relocation plan despite strong opposition among people in Okinawa.
The prefecture was recently shocked by the arrest of a former U.S. Marine working as a civilian at the Kadena Air Base in the prefecture on suspicion of raping and murdering a 20-year-old woman. Her body was found in a wooded area after she went missing in late April.
The suffering of Okinawan people due to the heavy U.S. military presence in the prefecture is inseparable from their memories of the Battle of Okinawa.
The central government and Japanese living in the mainland need to understand the full meaning of June 23 and reflect afresh on the history of suffering experienced by people in Okinawa.
After DPRK launches, Japan must squarely face severe security situation
The threat to the security of Japan and the United States has become more severe. We should step up our vigilance.
North Korea has launched two missiles thought to be Musudan midrange ballistic missiles. The first missile exploded in midair, but the second flew about 400 kilometers before it plunged into the Sea of Japan. The second missile reportedly reached an altitude of more than 1,000 kilometers.
Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said the launches “showed a certain degree of capability as midrange ballistic missiles.”
North Korea launched four missiles in April and May that all failed. It must be acknowledged that North Korea, by repeatedly conducting test launches, is steadily improving its technological competence and boosting the accuracy and capability of its missiles.
Musudan missiles use mobile launchers and are estimated to have a range of up to 4,000 kilometers. Its targets are assumed to be U.S. military bases in Guam and Japan.
U.N. Security Council sanction resolutions prohibit North Korea from launching ballistic missiles. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe criticized the launches as “clear violations” of the resolutions. “We can never condone it,” he said. This was a natural response.
Representatives and experts from the six nations involved in talks on the North Korean nuclear issue are holding an international conference in Beijing. Officials from North Korean authorities are also taking part. Firing missiles at this particular time appears to be a demonstration of Pyongyang’s continuing nuclear and missile development, and a show of defiance directly aimed at the international community.
DP, JCP ignore reality
China is also escalating its maritime advances. On June 9, a Chinese military vessel entered the contiguous zone around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture for the first time. Another military ship also intruded into Japan’s territorial waters off Kagoshima Prefecture and the contiguous zone around Kita-Daitojima island.
Security-related bills that were passed in September 2015 permit a limited exercise of the right of collective self-defense, and make it possible for the Self-Defense Forces to defend U.S. military ships. To prepare for unforeseen situations, it is vital that the laws are appropriately implemented and continuous efforts are made to boost deterrence.
We have questions about the assertion by the Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party, which will collaborate in the House of Councillors election, that they still call for the abolition of the security legislation package.
DP leader Katsuya Okada emphasized the Japan-U.S. alliance must not be turned into “an alliance of blood.” While Okada made this comment during a street speech, was it not demagogy itself?
In connection with the abolition of the laws, Okada also explained that he “isn’t saying the DP will abolish” the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, and that the alliance will not become “distorted.” His comments can be described only as opportunism.
Strengthening Japan-U.S. defense cooperation based on the laws will contribute to the stability of Asia, and has been highly evaluated by the international community. The alliance relationship must not be allowed to stray off course by abolishing the laws.
JCP leader Kazuo Shii even went so far as saying his party would gradually dissolve the SDF, which it considers “unconstitutional.” This is unrealistic in the extreme.
Arguments that ignore Japan’s security environment will not be able to win the support of the people.
(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 23, 2016)