AP Thursday February 2, 2006
Oscar-nominated director warns of Japanese military resurgence
TOKYO: Japan's plans to change its pacifist constitution could rekindle historical animosities in Asia and lead to another war in the region, an Oscar-nominated director warns in a new documentary.
"Japan's Peace Constitution'' is a reminder of the mistrust that still runs deep in much of Asia over Tokyo's militaristic past, and the potential backlash against any resurgence of that militarism, American director John Junkerman said at a weekend screening in Tokyo.
"It's Article 9 that has calmed Asia's fears of Japan again becoming an aggressor,'' Junkerman said, referring to the section of the constitution - drafted by U.S. occupation forces and unchanged since 1947 - which bars the use of military force in settling international disputes.
"Taking away that assurance might spark an arms buildup among Japan's neighbors. Regional scuffles could erupt into wars,'' Junkerman said
the critics highlighted in Junkerman's film say that given the current tensions between Japan and its neighbors, deletion of the pacifist clause could be seen as an aggressive move, possibly spurring an arms race in Asia.
"If Japan's constitution collapses, it will push other countries to expand their militaries'' - especially the Koreas and China - says Han Hong-koo, a South Korean historian also interviewed in the film. Ban Zhongyi, a Chinese writer and documentary filmmaker, echoes the sentiment.
"It's a foolish and extremely dangerous thing to do,'' Ban says.
The documentary also slams the U.S. for encouraging its ally to take a more active role in international security.
"The Americans want the constitution revised, and they put that pressure on the Japanese from an early date,'' U.S. historian John Dower says in the film.
Still, Junkerman says he has hopes Japan's postwar pacifism is deep-rooted enough to ultimately resist a call to arms.
"I have a great hope the more people talk about this, the more they'll realize there's nothing to be gained by the remilitarization of Japan,'' Junkerman said.
"The pacifist constitution is a tremendously valuable asset.''
Thursday February 2, 9:16 AM
FOCUS: China suspected of providing missile technology to N. Korea
Since the 1980s, China has joined the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), and has also joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), formally taking part in the international framework for preventing nuclear proliferation.
But China is still a source of technology for weapons of mass destruction. Chinese enterprises are entering the lucrative and dangerous business and are involved in exports of materials related to such weapons to Iran and other countries.
Sanctions were imposed by the George W. Bush administration on such Chinese enterprises in 14 cases by the end of 2004.
To Iran, China has sold a design drawing for a uranium ore-conversion facility and the antisubmarine cruise missile C-802.
To North Korea, China is suspected to have supplied missile technology, and machines and parts needed for nuclear development.
U.S. intelligence authorities are paying keen attention to the visit to North Korea by Xiong Guangkai, Deputy Chief of General Staff of the People's Liberation Army, in early August, 1998, immediately before North Korea's surprising launch on August 31 of its three-stage, medium-rangeTaepodong-1 missile.
The U.S. National Security Agency reportedly suspected in late 1998 that the China Academy of Launch Technology was working with North Korea on its space program to develop missiles.
And it obtained information that Chinese enterprises have cooperated "directly or indirectly" with North Korea in the field of its nuclear weapons programs and is investigating whether China was involved in the development of the Taepodong missiles.Kyodo News