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The U.S.-North Korea deadlock

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The majority of Japanese are skeptical about the chances of complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement (CVID) of nuclear weapons in North Korea. This year’s Singapore summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump notwithstanding. Japan has painful memories of being deceived by North Korea over the abduction issue, as well as the nuclear missile issue.

In 2002, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi met with Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il, and got both an admission that North Korea had indeed snatched Japanese citizens and an apology. Five Japanese survivors were successfully returned to Japan, but 16 years have passed since then without any significant evidence about the other, presumably deceased, victims. Japanese mistrust of North Korea is even deeper than neighboring countries can imagine.

Among Japanese researchers, however, opinions about denuclearization are split. Those researchers who specialize in security and international relations studies contend that North Korea will never give up nuclear weapons, and that it is merely attempting to buy time to ward off a U.S. attack. In contrast, those researchers (including me) who analyze the tone of the North Korean argument think that North Korea has made its decision on denuclearization dependent on the moves that Washington makes.

The idea that North Korea will never give up the nuclear weapons and missiles that it has spent so much time and money accumulating can be very much attributed to the Japanese artisan spirit. The U.S. and Chinese businesslike attitude of parting with........

© The Japan Times