Japan ends its isolation?

After effectively opting out of the six-party talks under Abe Shinzo, Japan is set to return to participation in the process to neutralize (if not dismantle) North Korea's nuclear arsenal.Machimura Nobutaka, chief cabinet secretary, announced Friday that in talks in Beijing, North Korea agreed to "reinvestigate" the case of Japanese abductees in North Korea and …

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More trouble headed Fukuda’s way?

According to the Washington Post, in exchange for North Korea's "acknowledging" US concerns about its nuclear activities, disabling Yongbyon, and provide a full accounting of its plutonium stockpile, the US will be prepared to "remove North Korea from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism and to exempt it from the Trading With the …

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Recommended Book: The Peninsula Question, Yoichi Funabashi

In the year since Funabashi Yoichi, editor-in-chief of the Asahi Shimbun, finished The Peninsula Question, the US and North Korea made an agreement that restarted the Six-Party talks, overcame the Banco Delta Asia obstacle, and issued a joint statement with the other parties that included a promise by North Korea to account for its nuclear …

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The right laying low?

Since former prime minister Mori and Prime Minister Fukuda called attention to the crisis facing the LDP on consecutive days in mid-January — with Mr. Mori explicitly criticizing Nakagawa Shoichi's flirtations with Hiranuma Takeo — it seems that the ideological conservatives have backed out of the spotlight.Part of the reason, I think, is because of …

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He came, they talked…what next?

Prime Minister Fukuda, cold bug and all, arrived in Washington as scheduled on Thursday evening and spent Friday meeting with President Bush and then dining with the president and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.The Swamp, the Chicago Tribune's politics blog, has a summary here, and takes care to note that Mr. Bush served US beef …

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The foreseeable crisis erupts

Ambassador Schieffer has, according to the Washington Post, sent a cable directly to the president (an unusual step) warning Mr. Bush of serious consequences to the US-Japan alliance should the US remove North Korea from the state sponsors of terrorism list without progress being made on the abductions issue. The ambassador also complained about being …

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Dueling with the right in Japan and the US

Perhaps as a sign that the six-party talk's latest agreement on North Korea is getting dangerously close to proceeding smoothly, there are signs that the positions of two actors are changing, one for the better, one for the worse.For the better, Sasae Kenichiro, Japan's negotiator in the six-party talks, suggested in a meeting with Dennis …

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