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2009.06.08 (Mon)

Japan Should Impose All-out Sanctions on N. Korea to Block Nuclear Arms Development

Urgent Recommendation from JINF
May 29, 2009

Japan Should Impose All-out Sanctions on N. Korea to Block Nuclear Arms Development

Reconsider Interpretation on Collective Self-defense Right and Non-Nuclear Principles

North Korea’s Kim Jong Il regime conducted a nuclear test on May 25 following its test-firing of a missile in April. The nuclear test, though viewed as not completely successful, indicated some remarkable technological progress from the previous one three years ago.

Some experts still say North Korea has carried out nuclear tests to prompt the United States to sit at a bilateral negotiating table. North Korea is also viewed by some as attempting to start nuclear disarmament negotiations after its position as a nuclear power is recognized. These views have failed to understand the essence of the problem. North Korea’s nuclear missile development is not a mere diplomatic card. Their strategic goal is to possess nuclear missiles that can reach the U.S. mainland as well as Japan. On the premise of continuing to develop nuclear missiles, North Korea has staved off military pressures and economic sanctions while gaining outside support.

North Korea’s objective is to block U.S. military intervention when it absorbs South Korea by force. The development of nuclear missiles reaching the U.S. mainland meets the objective. This is the core strategy of the Kim Il Sung/Kim Jong Il regime. Pyongyang will never abandon the strategy in exchange for negotiations or returns. We should recognize the reality.

In order to block North Korea’s possession of nuclear missiles, we should prevent North Korea from having capabilities to develop nuclear missiles. North Korea has natural uranium resources. But it introduces various technologies, machines, materials, components, energy resources and hard currencies required for the nuclear missile development from Japan and other countries. In order to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear missiles, we have no way but to stop their flow into North Korea.

The three countries of South Korea as the North’s absorption target, the United States that has formed a military alliance with South Korea, and Japan whose safety is closely linked to the safety of South Korea must correctly recognize North Korea’s nuclear strategy, adopt the derailment of that strategy as their common national objective and enhance their strategic cooperation.

The three countries should further build up the deterrence against North Korea. To this end, the Japanese government should straighten out the interpretation of the Constitution on the collective self-defense right. The government should also reconsider its three non-nuclear principles in order to enhance the Japan-U.S.-South Korea nuclear deterrence.

JINF has persistently pointed to the essence of the North Korea problem and made the relevant recommendations. As a private institute, JINF has accumulated strategic discussions with government officials and experts in South Korea, the United States and Taiwan. Relevant government-to-government talks should be intensified.

Based on the above, we hereby recommend to the Japanese government and the international community to take the following measures:

1. Japan, the United States and South Korea should lead the imposition of all-out sanctions on North Korea and shut out the flow of goods, money and people into the North completely.

First, Japan should implement all-out sanctions immediately. Particularly, Japan should prohibit Korean residents in Japan from visiting North Korea in principle and completely ban exports and remittances to North Korea. Then, Japan should ask the United States and South Korea to cooperate.

The United States should redesignate North Korea as a state sponsoring terrorism and reimpose financial sanctions as we have persistently recommended.

South Korea should close the Kaesong industrial park, suspend trade with, investment in and sightseeing trips to the North, shut out private-sector support for the North and raise the abduction of South Korean citizens by the North as the issue of top national priority.

2. China has supported North Korea’s nuclear development by continuing energy and food supply to and expanding trade with North Korea in spite of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1718 that condemned North Korea’s previous nuclear test and called for sanctions. China has also forcefully sent back North Korean defectors in violation of the U.N. Refugee Convention.

Japan, the United States and South Korea should be united to urge China to comply with the UNSC resolution and stop supporting the Kim Jong Il terrorist regime. If China continues to violate the UNSC resolution, the three countries should impose sanctions on Chinese financial institutions handling North Korean money.

3. North Korea has obtained hard currencies in exchange for, among others, its provision of nuclear and missile technologies to Iran and Syria. In order to shut down the money flow, the UNSC should stipulate the enforcement of inspections on ships and aircraft in its new resolution. Even if such wording in the UNSC resolution ends up insufficient, the international community should thoroughly implement inspections within the framework of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). Japan should provide for necessary legislation to participate in such inspections proactively.

4. In order to build up the nuclear deterrence against North Korea, the Japanese government should revise the present interpretation of the Constitution on the collective self-defense right, reconsider its three non-nuclear principles, develop missile defense capabilities and take necessary steps to secure capabilities to attack enemy bases.


Yoshiko Sakurai
Tadae Takubo
Masato Ushio
Koichi Endo
Yujiro Oiwa
Yoichi Shimada
Katsuhiko Takaike
Yasushi Tomiyama
Tsutomu Nishioka
Osamu Eya
Ruriko Kubota
Ryutaro Hirata



JINF Korea Study Group

(Chairman: Tsutomu Nishioka, Vice Chairman: Yoichi Shimada)

North Korea’s objective for possessing nuclear missiles that can reach the U.S. mainland as well as Japan is a Pyongyang-led unification of the Korean Peninsula. The objective of the nuclear missile development is to threaten to make nuclear attacks on the United States, as South Korea’s ally, and Japan, that supports U.S. forces by providing bases, if the two countries impede a North-led unification. North Korea would like to absorb South Korea without fighting another war with the U.S.

In November 1968, Kim Il Sung issued a secret order (see Note) that called for North Korea’s indigenous production of nuclear missiles capable to attack the U.S. mainland so that the United States would have no choice but to withdraw from South Korea. This is the reason North Korea has continued nuclear missile development even at the cost of starving 15% of its population to death in the second half of the 1990s.

The latest nuclear test, though viewed as not completely successful, indicated some technological breakthrough from the previous test three years ago. In April’s missile launch, North Korea successfully flew the first stage of the Taepodong 2 missile, although the missile exploded in air in some 40 seconds after firing in the previous test in 2006. It also successfully separated and flew the Rodong missile placed on the second stage.

The latest nuclear explosion test was apparently far more powerful than the previous one. The explosion yield of the latest test is estimated at more than 2 kilotons against 0.5 kiloton for the previous one. But the yield fell short of 20 kilotons for the plutonium bomb dropped on Nagasaki. In the latest and previous tests, North Korea may have intentionally mixed plutonium 240 with plutonium 239 to cause an immature explosion instead of successfully-designed fission of plutonium 239, according to some experts.

At present, we can conclude that North Korea has steadily established new technologies toward its production of nuclear missiles capable to attack the United States, as noted in the Kim Il Sung order. North Korea has been persistent in this regard. Therefore, North Korea, if left unchecked, may achieve its strategic goal of possessing nuclear missiles capable to attack the U.S. mainland in the near future. In this sense, time is running out in favor of North Korea.

The Japanese government should not overlook the fact that members of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, known as Chongryon, have made great contributions to North Korea’s nuclear missile development.

Korean engineers who belong to the Chongryon-affiliated Korean Association of Science and Technology in Japan (KAST) have cooperated in North Korea’s ballistic missile development. KAST consists of some 1,200 researchers and medical doctors working at universities and private companies and has been put under direct control by the External Liaison Department, an espionage branch of the North Korean Workers’ Party.

When the Metropolitan Police Department in Tokyo searched KAST offices upon the arrest of its vice chairman and some others for their alleged violation of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law in October 2005, it found that data about surface-to-air missiles for the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force had leaked from the then Defense Agency to KAST.

Reportedly, a man called Mr. Pyon (first name is unknown), a nuclear expert of Kyoto University graduate, visited North Korea via Beijing in mid-October last year.

From October 16 to November 13 last year, Mr. So Pan Do, a missile engineer of KAST who serves as vice president of Kumgang Motor Joint Venture Company, visited North Korea. He has studied at the University of Tokyo and is a missile engine expert given a doctorate in North Korea. He also visited North Korea when the North fired missiles in July 2006.

Kumgang Motor Joint Venture Company has its head office and plant in Wonsan. Nominally, it is a motor maker. But the company has been developing missile engines. The company’s President, Mr. So Sok Hong, is a missile engine expert given a doctorate at the University of Tokyo. He was formerly a vice chairman of KAST and now serves as an adviser to the association. He has frequently visited North Korea. His last visit to North Korea came in September 2005. In November 2006, Japanese police searched his house.

In response to the latest nuclear test, Japan should invoke all-out sanctions to stop the flow of goods, money and people to North Korea. Particularly, the government should prohibit all Koreans in Japan from visiting North Korea in principle to stop any technology outflow from Japan to North Korea.

Specifically, the government should refuse to issue reentry permits for any Koreans who leave Japan for North Korea. The residence status in Japan should be cancelled for any Koreans who will have been found to have visited North Korea while having applied for visits to other countries. Such penalties should be adopted.

Some government officials said the government’s refusal to issue reentry permits for Chongryon-affiliated Korean residents with permanent residence permits would be problematic from the human rights perspective. Until the early 1970s, however, the Japanese government had issued no reentry permits for Chongryon-affiliated Korean residents in principle. The government is authorized to decide whether to issue reentry permits for foreign residents in Japan in consideration of the balance between their human rights and Japan’s national security.

Note: In November 1968, Kim Il Sung issued the following order for indigenous production of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles for attacks on the U.S. mainland. (Source: Kim Tong Hyok, “Kim Il Sung’s Secret Orders,” The Sankei Shimbun. The author studied Kim Il Sung’s secret orders as a “leading core agent” of the External Liaison Department in the 1970s.)

“Although we have to expel Americans from South Korea, they will never withdraw from the Korean Peninsula under the present circumstances. Therefore, we have to promote preparations for another conflict with Americans… In preparing for a war at present, we should urgently obtain the means to attack the U.S. mainland. The world has had hundreds or dozens of small and large wars. There has been no war free from U.S. intervention. Since all these wars occurred outside the United States, however, no foreign shell has reached the U.S. mainland. What would happen if shells fall on the U.S. soil? The situation may be different then. Antiwar movements may emerge in the United States. If such movements are combined with anti-U.S. movements in the Third World, Americans may have no choice but to abandon South Korea. Therefore, you must positively develop the technology for indigenous production of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles as early as possible.” (A statement before a development team at the National Academy of Sciences Hamhung Branch)