Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

Tsutomu Nishioka

【#268】Japan’s Diplomacy with S. Korea Plunges into Crisis

Tsutomu Nishioka / 2014.10.16 (Thu)

October 14, 2014

     Japan's diplomacy with South Korea has plunged into a grave crisis. This crisis is not related to the present deadlock in which the two countries cannot hold a bilateral summit due to Seoul's anti-Japan campaigns. Japan has conducted diplomacy with South Korea for the strategic objective of preventing the entire Korean Peninsula from going communist through a Pyongyang-led unification. But we now see a nightmare where South Korea that has fought the East Asian cold war on the front would sever its alliance with the United States and come under control of North Korea and China.

President Park pleasing pro-Pyongyang groups
     Since Park Geun-hye was elected president of South Korea, I have reiterated that her historic mission would be to expel domestic pro-Pyongyang groups and enhance an effective Japan-U.S.-South Korea alliance to achieve a Seoul-led free democratic unification of the Korean Peninsula. Last December, then National Intelligence Service Director Nam Jae-joon and his deputies vowed to achieve the free democratic unification by 2015. Last January, President Park described the unification as a big hit and put forward the vision for the unification to people fearing the cost of the unification.
     But President Park has pleased pro-Pyongyang groups in South Korea, fallen short of specifying a free democratic unification through the overthrow of North Korea's dictatorship, dismissed Nam as NIS director and continued an anti-Japan tattle diplomacy. Furthermore, she invited the Chinese Communist Party leader to Seoul and expressed concern along with the Chinese leader on Japan's plan to tolerate the exercise of the collective self-defense right.
     President Park has failed to facilitate procedures to dissolve a pro-Pyongyang political party that includes a lawmaker who has been arrested for allegedly ordering underground groups to prepare for armed uprising to support North Korean forces in the event of war. Furthermore, South Korean prosecutors have indicted a Sankei Shimbun reporter. It is now clear that President Park and her aides are failing to pay heed to South Korea's national interests.

Nightmare of emerging anti-Japan, nuclear-armed country
     The present South Korean Constitution limits the presidential term at five years and bans a reelection. Although it may be premature to give any conclusive forecast on the next presidential election in December 2017, the Park administration's woeful performances indicate that a pro-Pyongyang leftist might win the next presidential election. Then, the Sunshine Policy would be implemented again to enhance support for North Korea, leading economic sanctions on North Korea by the Japanese government under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to lose effects. The U.S.-South Korea alliance would weaken, which might lead to the withdrawal of the U. S. forces from South Korea.
     Since ancient days, anti-Japan forces' control of the entire Korean Peninsula has tended to threaten Japan's security. We are now about to see an emerging nightmare where anti-Japan forces armed with nuclear weapons would take control of the entire peninsula. While many Japanese arguments call for severing amicable relations with South Korea, the problem dividing Japan and South Korea is not about security but about perceptions of history. If North Korea occupies the South, Japan's Tsuhima Island will be on the frontline against communism. After Japan was defeated in the Battle of Baekgang in 663, the then ancient Japanese government created a military plan to defend Kyushu. What we should do now is to prepare for the worst while providing moral support to South Korean proponents of freedom and democracy. This means that we should amend the Constitution to reform the Self-Defense Forces into normal defense forces. Little time is left for us to do so.
Tsutomu Nishioka is Planning Committee Member, Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, and Professor at Tokyo Christian University.