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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

North Korea nuclear test

北朝鮮核実験

The most exciting thing about the Sports Day weekend, a long weekend thanks to the holiday falling on Monday, is the kids winning egg-and-spoon races and the like at the sports days they hold at schools on the Monday.

Alta Studio Big Screen, Shinjuku, Tokyo This year, however,the holiday was rudely interrupted with a big bang from North Korea, the loony state which just managed, so it claims, to detonate a nuclear bomb underground. Whether it really was nuclear or not remains to be seen, but something big was detonated as was established from the seismic waves it generated.

The country is in a bit of a panic. North Korea has been Japan's biggest bogeyman for decades with its sporadic practice of abducting Japanese nationals and whisking them off to North Korea for who knows what.

On the heels of the missile launches that North Korea experimented with just a few weeks ago, the (apparent) nuclear bomb detonation has really cranked up
the level of tension.

Even North Korea's one and only benefactor, China, has had very stern words about it. The new Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has just been to China to meet with the President, one of the main topics on the agenda being the North Korean action.

I was in Shinjuku last night with a friend and caught the two leaders on the massive screen of the famous rendezvous point, the Alta Studio.

The only good that may come of this is that Japan may start to realize just how much it needs China in preserving the peace in this region - which in turn might dissuade Abe from visiting Yasukuni Shrine, a form of nationalistic posturing that the previous prime minister Koizumi indulged in, that, like the North Korean nationalistic posturing, severely hampered prospects for peace.

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