There has been a huge amount of reaction in the press to yesterday's missile test from North Korea. We spoke to Inoue Atsushi to find out what the reaction has been like in Japan as well as what worries him most about the crisis.
1. After the missile launch yesterday, a warning was relayed to Japanese citizens through the government and mass media. How did people in Japan react to this warning?
The J-alert system is designed for use in national emergencies and yesterday was the first time it was used. It sent out messages to phones and was also broadcast on NHK, the national broadcaster of Japan. The message told people to evacuate, however, many people didn’t really know where they should actually evacuate to. Because of this many people were confused about what they should do.
2. What do you think about this reaction?
Since last year North Korea have been doing intermittent missile launches and tests. Because of this, many Japanese people might already be used to the threat and there might not be many people who really think that a war will actually break out. People in Japan seem to be dealing with it calmly.
3. The Korean government has said that they want a “strong reaction” to the missile launch. What do you think about that stance?
It doesn’t look like the strong reaction will cause North Korea to calm down. Considering the dissatisfaction of the Korean people the government needs to consider if the “strong Korea” stance like the one propagated by the US Government, is really the best stance to take in the interest of Korea.
4. President Trump and Prime Minister Abe have said that now is not the time for dialogue. What do you think about that?
The North Korea Central News Agency said that “On Aug. 29, the day the 1910 treaty between Korea and Japan was signed, we have performed a bold and stunning operation to shock the cruel citizens of Japan.”
We are used to North Korea’s hysterical propaganda and it is unlikely that it will lead Tump and Abe to declare war. However, before the crisis becomes too big they need to think about how they can effectively pressure North Korea to stop them.
The biggest worry is that while cool heads are needed, both President Trump and Prime Minister Abe do not seem like the type of people to take that route. They need more aides with brilliant solutions around them to guide them well.
5. After this, how do you think Korea and Japan will be able to cooperate?
It is difficult for President Trump and Prime Minister Abe to release a joint statement but under the surface, they will be working on solutions to the problem. Through politicians or civilians close to North Korea, diplomatic negotiations should be held to bring an end to the dispute between the US and North Korea.
Really, South Korea should take the lead in these negotiations. Nevertheless, the Korean government’s expression of needing to show a strong reaction is certainly worthy of concern. The previous president Park Geun-hye had the same reaction and just like this, Moon Jae-in seems to be wavering and not keeping calm. The most worrying thing seems to be this lack of calmness.
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