NHK’s Sunday morning talk show “Nichiyo Toron” invited policy affairs chiefs of ruling and opposition parties to discuss major issues in the ongoing extraordinary Diet session. Opposition officials took issue with the harsh rhetoric used by Prime Minister Abe in denouncing North Korea. While noting that President Trump used equally strong language in referring to the DPRK, Nagashima of the Party of Hope stressed that other Trump administration officials, including Secretary of State Tillerson, have concurrently sent the Kim regime conciliatory messages seeking dialogue. Nagashima raised concern that the Abe administration does not have an “exit strategy” in the nuclear standoff, calling for Foreign Minister Kono and other GOJ officials to explain Japan’s blueprint for the demilitarization of the Korean Peninsula. Democratic Party of Japan representative Adachi concurred with Nagashima by saying that Abe’s remarks, such as “Japan is with America one hundred percent,” and “Dialogue with North Korea is a waste of time,” are too provocative. He said he is afraid that such language may provoke a reckless reaction from the Kim regime.
LDP Deputy Policy Research Council Chairman Tamura rebuffed such criticism by arguing that the two governments’ maximum pressure campaign is intended to induce North Korea to return to the negotiating table. He explained that by voicing Tokyo’s full support for Washington’s North Korea policy, the GOJ has been able to remind North Korea that it is open to dialogue if the Kim regime is willing to halt nuclear and missile development.