Japan is hopeful it can persuade all five members of the U.N. Security
Council to issue a strong condemnation of North Korea following
Sunday's rocket launch. The North Koreans contend they launched a
communications satellite into space - but the United States, Japan and
South Korea say the missile payload fell into the Pacific Ocean.
engaging in intense diplomacy in hopes of persuading China and Russia
not to use their U.N. Security Council veto power to prevent strong
condemnation of North Korea for Sunday's rocket launch.
Ministry Deputy Press Secretary Yasuhisa Kawamura tells VOA News Japan
remains optimistic all five Security Council members will be able to
was just the beginning of the process. Therefore Japan would like to
continue our best efforts to come up with a very strong message from
the Security Council," said Kawamura.
While awaiting U.N. action, Japan is considering a total ban on exports
to North Korea. But analysts say such a punitive sanction would be
more of a political move with limited practical impact. Many
Japanese exports desired by North Korea, such as strategic materials
for its weapons programs and automobiles, are already prohibited under
unilateral sanctions in place since 2006.
For some in Japan,
patience has run out with trying to get North Korea to modify its
behavior through such trade restrictions.
Korea's missile launches and nuclear weapons programs, seen as
fundamental threats to Japan, follow years of frustration on another
issue with Pyongyang - the kidnappings of Japanese citizens over
decades by North Korean agents.
A former senior Japanese
defense official, Toshio Tamogami, tells VOA the time has come for
Japan to use tougher language with North Korea.
says Japan has to take a stance that it will use its Self Defense
Forces if talking to North Korea does not produce results, as with the
unresolved issue of the abductees.
That sort of controversial
rhetoric recently led to Tamogami's ouster as the air force chief of
staff. Such hawkish views, once barely whispered on the fringes in a
pacifist Japan that vowed forever to renounce waging war after its
unconditional surrender in 1945, are becoming less taboo.
That is a result of the perceived repeated provocations by North Korea towards Japan.
But military and national security analyst Kazuhiko Inoue
says North Korea's rocket launch was not meant to provoke Japan. He
says, rather, it had a wider strategic aim and will be of commercial
"One aim is they will
build up the long-range missiles aiming at United States' cities.
Another aim is the weapons show to sell their missile to the Middle
East [countries] who would like to buy such a cheap weapon."
Some experts say North Korea earns 15 percent of its national income from weapons sales.