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Missing outgoing adviser is not enough

If the September 27 Cabinet reshuffle carried out by Junichiro Koizumi had a certain significance at all, it is that the PM has now surrounded himself with "diehard" toadies who keep parroting all his blah-blah-blah about the postal reform plans. But the reshuffle involved some by-product which is perhaps much more important.

Kyoko Nakayama, the Cabinet Secretariat adviser on the abduction issue, has been a household name since the repatriation of the five alleged abductees two years ago. It's this lady who insisted that these five not be returned to North Korea despite the agreement reached between Kim Jong-il and Koizumi that it had to be a temporary home-coming. On many other occasions, as well, she proved one of the toughest negotiators among the government officials and bureaucrats from the Foreign Ministry.

Now she tendered her resignation to Koizumi on the grounds that she had "already accomplished her role as abductions adviser and thought it was about time to call it quits" in the wake of the Cabinet reshuffle that has paved the way for the completion of Koizumi's obscure reforms at home and an accelerated drive for the normalization of diplomatic ties with Pyongyang. As to the reason of her resignation, Nakayama quickly added that her resignation had nothing to do with the new appointment of former Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi and former LDP Vice President Taku Yamasaki, a Koizumi's confidant, as the PM's special advisers.

Yamasaki, dubbed Yama-taku, had to step down as the party Vice President in 2003 when the weekly magazine "Shukan Bunshun" revealed a sex scandal implicating him. Already by that time, Yama-taku had been allegedly involved in a series of sex scandals, including an alleged attempt to rape. Aside from his perversion, he has been known to always be behind Koizumi when the PM reiterates his obsession with normalizing diplomatic ties with North Korea "at any cost". So it's no wonder some news media speculate that the outgoing abductions adviser didn't really mean it when she said Yama-taku's appointment hadn't affected her decision to leave the Cabinet in one way or the other.

As the October 1 editorial of the Sankei Shimbun pointed out, Pyongyang has already started immunizing the Japanese government for the magnitude of economic aid it is going to demand in reparation for Japan's prewar and wartime atrocities and exploitation. An informed source puts the amount involved in the neighborhood of USD 10 billion, that compares 20 times as much as the amount of the economic aid Japan paid when normalizing the relationship with the ROK. It's no wonder that these pork-barrel operators, including Koizumi and Yamasaki, can't wait until the once-in-a-life time opportunity materializes. Besides, it will be an extra bonus for a habitual sex buyer like YT if Kim Jong-il, or his Japanese contractors, wants to pay down the kickback with women as the North Korean leader has often done in the past. In all likelihood, this is what Kyoko Nakayama wanted to avoid getting involved in.

And who won the game, at the end of the day? The PM won because he once again used the same trick he did when attempting to effectively silence former Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka, the outspoken daughter of former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka. In the most recent Upper House election, Tanaka's husband could run, successfully, on the LDP ticket at the cost of his wife having to behave herself. Ever since one of the PM's modi operandi when he becomes involved in a jam has been to take the enemy's spouse hostage. Now Koizumi says to the press: "(Nakayama's) intention (to resign) is firm. Her husband (Nariaki Nakayama) has become the minister (of Education) and maybe she thought her role has been settled." And the same old, cheap trick worked once again.

Quite understandably, Shigeru Yokota and other family members of the ten (plus some 150) allegedly abducted by North Korea are expressing a grave concern about the consequences of her resignation. Now it looks as though these family members are totally at a loss over how to cope with the new development.

By now, however, the family members of abductees should have learned a bitter lesson. We cannot be sure yet if Kyoko Nakayama tendered her resignation in a gesture of her protest against the Koizumi-Yamasaki policy line which is even more softening toward North Korea. That doesn't really matter now. But one thing is for certain: Just missing the former abductions adviser is far from enough. It may be true she was among a handful of hard-liners when dealing with Kim Jong-il. But at the same time she is the one, after all, who played into the hands of the North Korean dictator, or Japan's PM, for that matter, by dramatizing the entire Soga-Jenkins family affairs as if they had something to do with the abduction issue.

More importantly, there's no denying that she betrayed these family members by saying her mission has been accomplished when the family members haven't yet found the slightest clue to the fate of their missing kin despite the "all-out" effort for a reinvestigation into it Kim Jong-il promised to his Japanese counterpart more than four months ago.

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