As missiles fly, Japanese Communists demand U.S.-DPRK talks
This Aug. 29 file photo distributed by the North Korean government shows what was said to be the test launch of a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile in Pyongyang, North Korea. | Korean Central News Agency via AP

TOKYO — As more North Korean missiles soar over Japan with each passing week, Japanese Communist Party (JCP) parliamentarians are demanding that the Japanese government push the U.S. to hold direct talks with North Korea in order to avert a military clash.

Both houses of the Diet, Japan’s parliament, opened meetings in response to North Korea’s sixth nuclear test on Sept. 5, and JCP members have been urging direct talks since. The latest North Korean ballistic missile launch occurred this morning at 6:47 am local time. The mid-range rocket, launched from within North Korea, passed over northern Japan before landing in the Pacific Ocean.

JCP lawmaker Kasai Akira at a House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee meeting condemned the recent nuclear test by North Korea. He said that North Korea again violated past UN Security Council resolutions and went counter to the international community’s efforts calling for a diplomatic solution of the issue and the establishment of a world free of nuclear weapons.

Kasai asked Foreign Minister Kono Taro if the government acknowledges the potential risk of the ongoing crisis between the U.S. and North Korea which could result in a military conflict. Kono responded with the government’s official line, saying, “It is North Korea that is unilaterally increasing tension.” Kono took a stance supporting U.S. nuclear deterrence and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ remark that the U.S. has “many military options.”

The JCP lawmaker criticized the Japanese government for not promoting U.S.-DPRK dialogue. He went on to say that if the tension between Washington and Pyongyang escalate further, it will increase the possibility of a miscalculation that could lead to military conflict.

Kasai said that a war on the Korean Peninsula must be avoided as it would cause devastating damage to Japan as well. He mentioned that a statement issued on Aug. 29 by the UN Security Council president calls for actions to reduce tension on the Korean Peninsula and for efforts to seek “a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue.”

Kasai said that the Japanese government should work to persuade the U.S. government into holding direct talks with the North Korean government.

On the same day, JCP lawmaker Inoue Satoshi at a House of Councilors Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting said that the Japanese government should work to realize U.S.-North Korea talks in order to prevent a military conflict triggered by an accident or misunderstanding.

Inoue stressed that pursuing dialogue to break through the current crisis is different from making a concession to North Korea or approving the country’s nuclear program. He said that the Japanese government should encourage the U.S. to decide to hold talks with North Korea.

This is an edited version of an article distributed by Japan Press Service.



Shimbun Akahata
Shimbun Akahata

Shimbun Akahata (しんぶん赤旗) is the daily newspaper of the Japanese Communist Party.