Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Korean Peninsula Crisis Demands Our Utmost Attention

We must make our best efforts to avoid war; a bipartisan deal is needed

"An unjust peace is better than a just war." - Cicero

We must quell the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. We should make every effort to do so.

When the crisis erupted on Nov. 23, I was traveling. While I was in Shingu, Wakayama, I got a call from Tokyo Shimbun's breaking news department (I'd like to thank that reporter for calling me). My comments were included as part of a special report that ran on page 22 of the Nov. 24 morning edition (the article was accurate, which was why I want to thank the reporter). Here is an excerpt:

Political commentator Minoru Morita said, "The South and North are in a very precarious position that should not be thought of lightly. Japan, a geographic neighbor, needs to show some leadership on this issue. Japan should work with the six-member commission, which includes China, the U.S. and Russia, to bring about a solution to North Korea's nuclear problem."

But Prime Minister Kan seems to have disregarded diplomacy. The problem lies first with the Foreign Ministry. The Democratic Party of Japan's stance "has left the diplomats with no motivation. It's all wait and see. They aren't working at all," Morita says. "The official residence doesn't function, and the Cabinet creaks as if it's hollow. They have no administrative ability. It's a state of emergency and all they do is look serious."

So what needs to happen to change this situation? "We have a chance to unite under a bipartisan system," Morita says. Former foreign ministers should be added to the government's diplomatic team. "First assemble a meeting of party leaders. Prime Minister Kan must request the cooperation of members of the Liberal Democratic Party and other parties. Then they should work to get the Foreign Ministry moving. If the crisis on the Korean Peninsula escalates, Japan would be greatly affected. We can't just be spectators. We must have correspondence that breaks out of past frameworks."

The crisis on the Korean Peninsula should not be minimized. Japan should make every effort to preserve the peace. We should mobilize all our networks, get all the affected countries moving and return Northeast Asia to peace. Having a domestic meeting of all political party leaders is a good start. But the way they are doing things now is not good. Kan needs to sit down one-on-one with LDP chief Tanigaki and have a heartfelt conversation. Peace must be brought about by bipartisanship.