The 2008 changes to Japan’s basic law governing space should provide the evidence needed that Japan’s patience with a lunatic North Korea is wearing thin. Japan has received abundant reasons for abandoning the U.S. umbrella and developing its own missile-defense and nuclear-retaliatory capability.
Japan saw juvenile, ignorant attempts at U.S. diplomacy when President Clinton concluded a bilateral agreement with North Korea. To be effective, negotiations required Chinese, Russian, South Korean and Japanese participation. President George W. Bush began six-party talks, but undercut a rare example of U.N. assertiveness when the U.N. considered Resolutions 1695 and 1718 imposing military and economic sanctions. In 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton counseled “showing some patience” with North Korea, therefore giving Japan more evidence of a diplomacy-attachment disorder. A missile test launch prompted President Obama to express displeasure while proposing drastic cuts in our nuclear arsenal and missile-defense programs.
Japan can also note that Russian and Chinese leaders now lack the cynicism and paranoia they showed during the Cold War. North Korea has nuclear weapons based on Pakistani technology. However, these Asian leaders seem comfortable with a mentally unstable nuclear regime on their borders. Leonid Brezhnev or Mao Zedong would have noted such astonishing counsel by dispatching these reckless individuals to treatment at cancer wards.
Japan’s national self-interest embraces a several-thousand-year heritage unfathomable to Westerners driven by two-year election cycles. Its decision to reject U.S. military protection will leave experts astonished with the rapid removal of political and technological barriers.