Occidentalism
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President Noh a monomaniac?

April 2nd, 2007 . by Matt

Decide for yourself.

The Japan-South Korea relations have soured because South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun is on “icy terms” with Abe, as one Japanese government source put it.

The two leaders met in October just after North Korea carried out its first nuclear test. During the meeting, however, Roh was more keen to discuss Yasukuni and “comfort women” than the nuclear threat from across the border.


29 Responses to “President Noh a monomaniac?”

  1. comment number 1 by: Toshiharu Honda

    Roh Moo-hyun has been a laughingstock in Japan.
    However, I changed my opinion of him for the
    better when he concluded the free trade
    agreement with the US. Abe, on the other hand,
    has done nothing to implement reforms as he
    pledged. To protect the farming industry which
    accounts for less than 1% of GDP of Japan, he
    will never liberalize imports of farm products.

  2. comment number 2 by: Phil2Musashi

    In Canada free trade with the US has done next to nothing for our economy but leave us with unpaid bills from our American customers; I don’t know if signing up for free trade with the US constitutes intelligence.

    As for the Japanese farming industry: GDP is nothing compared to the assurance that Japan is able to maintain its independace in terms of feeding itself; to say nothing of maintaining culture and national pride in its domestic produce.

    I wish Canada could show some of the guts that Abe is displaying right now.

  3. comment number 3 by: kteen

    ‘ wish Canada could show some of the guts that Abe is displaying right now’…
    You call that ‘guts’?

  4. comment number 4 by: Kannu

    To protect the farming industry which
    accounts for less than 1% of GDP of Japan, he
    will never liberalize imports of farm products

    Typical rightwing drivel. Both the EU and to a lesser extent the US agressively protect their farmers and agricultural industry, even though the said industry accounts for 1-2% of GDP just as in Japan.

  5. comment number 5 by: Ken

    President Roh was diagnosed as Borderline Personality Disorder by Korean doctor as the news on Sep.12,’06.
    http://www.donga.com/fbin/output?f=total&n=200609120335
    But it is no wonder because he is the one of 71% of Koreans as the news on Feb.10,’03.
    http://japan.donga.com/srv/service.php3?biid=2003021117138

  6. comment number 6 by: tocchin

    Kann, the Japanese farm products are five times more expensive than in the US or EU.
    Therefore, the farming industry accounts for 0.2 % of the GDP in real terms. Moreover, the government subsidies per acre of farm land are almost 100 times those spent in the US.

  7. comment number 7 by: Phil2Musashi

    I think it is very important to keep domestic food production up as a priority in any country.

    People may disagree with the high subsidies and the produce prices, but in the long run it protects the countries culture and lifestyle.

    It allows people to maintain a connection to their food. Further more, in terms of domestic produce, people have a say in how the land is used and what is produced.

    It may be right wing, but it does not make it wrong.

    It also gives consumers a choice. In Japan, people can buy a single bulb of Japanese garlic for 99 Yen, or they can buy 3 Chinese bulbs of garlic for the same price. The Japanese garlic still sells. People will fork out the extra money to show pride and support in their own land.

    If you don’t subsidize, you leave farmers at home to focus on luxury crops for the rest of the world, leaving you dependant of foriegn food supplies which you have no control over.

    Does this make sense? Isn’t there more ludicrous wastes of money to judge before attacking farmers? I’m I missing part of a bigger picture?

  8. comment number 8 by: cleanyourcountry

    Korea needs for once, at least once, stop worrying about neighboring countries and work on making it’s own country better. There are two articles in the Korea Times that are good opinions of Korea that should be taken care of.

    1. Clean up the damn country. Korea is still a very dirty country.

    http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/opinion/200703/kt2007031915594954070.htm

    2. Work on your image. Korea has such a terrible repuation. Koreans are know to be always angry people. why are koreans always angry? is it the spicy food that makes them hot headed? is that why koreans trash their country because they are always angry? read this article as well from the Korea Times.

    http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/opinion/200702/kt2007022016584454070.htm

    Korean politian are so stupid. Don’t they know how dirty their country is? do they not know how bad of a reputation koreans have? heard of koreatown being burnt down in the Los Angeles riots in 1992? Heard of the song, “Black Korea” by Ice Cube?

    Koreans, just learn what the hell a garbage can is. Korean beaches, cities, suburbs, etc. have trash everywhere.

  9. comment number 9 by: Matt

    Korea needs for once, at least once, stop worrying about neighboring countries and work on making it’s own country better. There are two articles in the Korea Times that are good opinions of Korea that should be taken care of.

    1. Clean up the damn country. Korea is still a very dirty country.

    http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/opinion/200703/kt2007031915594954070.htm

    2. Work on your image. Korea has such a terrible repuation. Koreans are know to be always angry people. why are koreans always angry? is it the spicy food that makes them hot headed? is that why koreans trash their country because they are always angry? read this article as well from the Korea Times.

    http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/opinion/200702/kt2007022016584454070.htm

    Korean politian are so stupid. Don’t they know how dirty their country is? do they not know how bad of a reputation koreans have? heard of koreatown being burnt down in the Los Angeles riots in 1992? Heard of the song, “Black Korea” by Ice Cube?

    Koreans, just learn what the hell a garbage can is. Korean beaches, cities, suburbs, etc. have trash everywhere.

    Listen up. Everyone knows you are Korean, and you are just trying to stir up trouble by making the other Koreans here angry. Quit pretending to be Japanese because the last time you tried to write Japanese there were so many mistakes you got laughed out of town.

  10. comment number 10 by: cleanyourcountry

    i’m korean? why can’t I say something that is true about korea? seriously…

    did you actually go to those websites in the Korea Times? Do you ever read the Korea Herald as well and read the opinions of foreigners in Korea?

    what the hell is wrong with this guy name Matt? Korea is still a dirty country. I’m not trying to make anybody angry. Just saying what is true and that it needs to be taken care of. Face it, Korea is still a dirty country. It’s a fact!! what about Korea’s brand value? It’s still very low. koreans living overseas are opening Japanese restaurant. what’s up with that?

    Anyways, advise to koreans is to stop littering. Ask any foreigner in Korea and they will say that Korea is a dirty country.

    who the fuck is trying to Be Japanese? you?

    anyways, if you are korean, pass the word on and tell the korean politicians for once to work on cleaning up the damn country. Have the people drive safer, and learn public manners.

  11. comment number 11 by: cleanyourcountry

    oh, one more thing, are the people who voice their opinions in Korean newspapers trying to be Japanese because they say Korea is dirty too? it’s a goood idea that they voice their opinions so korea can change for the better..

    Matt,or whoever you are, you need to grow up too…. a dirty country is still a developing country…

    even a Korean-American voice his opinion in the Korea Times and said that “Korea is still in a country in awkward adolescence.” Read the entire article:

    http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/special/200703/kt2007032017090667670.htm

    in Japan, ethnic Japnaese are welcomed. The government welcomes ethnic Japanese to work in Japan, especially ethnic Japanese from South America. Japan even made a drama based on a Japanese-American English teacher 5 years ago.

    hint hint…. korea is still a developing country. you can see when you go there… look around, people trashing their country, the way people drive, the outdated mentality like this kyopo said himself in the korea times newspaper..

  12. comment number 12 by: egg

    cleanyourcountry
    I might hear somebody saying “Do you have the qualification to say that”, because I tend to get off the topix myself, but still I think you are off the topix. Let`s enjoy talking with others within the topix. I think it is fun. Don`t you think so?

  13. comment number 13 by: Toshiharu Honda

    Phil2Musashi, Just because Japan restricts imports of farm products, we do not hava a
    choice. I love Indian long rice rather than
    Japanese one for curry or fried rice chinese style. But it is pratically impossible to buy Indian long rice in Japan. Japan has kept subidizing the agriculture for the last 60 years. The competitiveness of the Japanese farming industry has kept declining to such an extent that very few young people stay away
    from farming and most of the farmers are now
    over 60 years old. Still, the government does not allow companies to engage in farming. Many food processing companies and
    restaurant chains have been refused by the govenment to start farming business. Also Japan should help poor farmers in poverty stricken countries in Asia and Africa by opening the market, which is a lot better than just giving away money.

  14. comment number 14 by: Toshiharu Honda

    The latest approval ratings for Roh Moo-hyum have reached 33% following the conclusion of the FTA with the US. With the Japanese abductees issue going nowhere and endless LDP scandals, Abe’s approval ratings keep declining. Abe should emulate Roh on FTA issues.

  15. comment number 15 by: egg

    I feel symphacy with Phil2Musashi`s ideas. But on the other hand, we benefit much from free trade. Either opening or closing our agricultural market, Japan cannot do it completely now. And I think pressure to open our market will continue to increase. Not like the industrial products, we cannot live without food, so we need our main supplier in our country. Nothing coulid be done for mineral resources (Most of them, we rely on foreign countries entirely) we import, but we can do something to strengthen our agricultural business. (At least so that they won`t become extinct. And as Phil2Musashi pointed out, the need is not only from the economical, security but also the cultural, enviromental point of view.) But the probrem is how. Does anybody have a good idea?

  16. comment number 16 by: egg

    By the way, going back to the topix, is the attitude of the Korean government appropriate? I mean, I may understand her irritation against Japan, but isn`t the N.Korea`s threat more urgent? No meanings of offence, but it makes me quite puzzled. Do I feel like that because I am not a Korean?

  17. comment number 17 by: Phil2Musashi

    Any idea how the US feels about Korea and Japan’s relationship these days? Is the US (or the UN) trying to push Korea towards making some kind of decisions regarding N.Korea?

    With Japan as a major ally in the East, and with its military involvement in Korea, I would have thought the US would be doing more to improve Japan/Korea relations?

    Does anyone think the US may be sitting on the fence because they see Korea as having more potential either for trade, or to become politically volitile?

  18. comment number 18 by: egg

    I am not an American, so I can`t tell, but aren`t they thinking “It is their business.”? And even if they are concerned about the attitude of Korea, I think it is difficult for them to speak for Japan, because the probrem between Japan and Korea is said to be the probrem of Japanese acts against humanity of the past. They are sensitive about those human right matters.
    I am not an economic expert so I am not so confident but I think it natural that capacity of trade amount depends on the country`s population and wealth. So, it is hard for me to recognize “they see Korea as having more potential either for trade” as the reason of US not moving. But maybe they are not comparing the absolute amount and thinking that export against Japan will not grow but export against Korea will grow in the future. I am not sure though.
    Sorry I couldn`t take the meaning of this part “to become politically volitile”.

  19. comment number 19 by: stannn

    hey Phil2Musashi,

    To me, US’s the only long term interest in the region is to preserve its regional hegemony against the rising china. US do not really care about Korea&Japan’s relation at all. She just want to keep them under the control of Uncle Sam’s new world order.
    I don’t think Bush administration would push SK to make some drastic decisions about NK.

    For the US-Korea FTA, it’s not because US think of korea as having more potential, but rather because US-Korea FTA looks more predictable and controllable since Korean economy is smaller than Japan&China and Korean economical systems (especially financial and labor sectors)are already close to US’s ones after 1997 financial crisis. Also, it might help US to keep Korea under US than China before korean economy become a satellite of China.

  20. comment number 20 by: Phil2Musashi

    I had a brain fart when I was writing the line about “politically volitile”. Sorry. I will try and clarify my thought:

    I was wondering if the US considers the idea of S.Korea becoming closely alligned politically or militaristically with N.Korea and/or China in the future.

    The US is concerned with N.Korea, and I would assume they would have an intrest in S.Korean President switching his concentration away from a decades long gripe with a peaceful G8 country, and towards some kind of resolution regarding N.Korea.

    If this is a concern of theirs, I would think they would be doing everything they could to stay on good terms with S.Korea.

    And as stann pointed out, it is in the best interests of the US economically to maintain close political ties with Korea.

    I guess I was wondering if the US is more concerned with maintaining a political alliance with S.Korea than it is in helping Japan deal with the issue of N.Korea.

    Sorry if my thoughts are a little jumbled.

  21. comment number 21 by: egg

    Phil2Musashi, thank you for replying me. Never mind. (Does that sound arrogant? No intention of that.) I think the reason why I couldn`t take your meanings was my English ability.

    I personaly think America should not interfere in the two democratic countries relationship good or bad (as they are doing so now.), as it is not their business. Of course they may have some concerns though and when they think their interest in the far east region is going to be damaged, they will act on the probrem.

    I agree with stannn that American aim now is “to preserve its regional hegemony”. And to do that their main interest is keeping the sea lane safe under their naval control, I think. As long as America can keep control over the pacific, they will be satisfied.

    North Korea is not their real concern as long as their nuclear weapons keep staying in North Korea (They don`t have transfering measures to deliver the bomb to the US.). America is coming into the six party talks because they don`t want to see the IAEA resume braking down and the nuclear technology spreading all around the world.

    But for Japan, North Korea is a real threat as they will be able to launch nuclear missiles to us in the near future. And for South Korea, North Korea might not use nuclear weapons to them, but still North Korea having them and South Korea not, North Korea`s power to control whatever talks held between South Korea will increase at an enormous amount. So I expressed my impression at 16.

    From these kind of views, though they don`t say openly, America may be concerned with Japanese attitude about the abduction too. They might be thinking in their hearts that Japan should concentrare on nuclear probrems, keeping the IAEA regumes. So, besides to what I have said in 18, that may be the reason of America not coming into the two democratic countries relationship.

    Thanks to them, America was eager to spread and protect democratic countries around the world, but after the war with Iraqu, I think they are beginning to lose their enthusiasm. America will keep helping those democratic countries as long as they thank America or the country has crucial impotance for the US. But if not, I have a fear that America is going to abandon them. To say more, some day, they might even make a decision to retreat their troops from Europe, Asia and elsewhere and go back to their country. I am fearing that as long as Chinese navy doesn`t come within Guam, America might let them loose in the far east region in the near future.

    So, it is only my ideas, and no intention to offend or insult anybody, but I think “I guess I was wondering if the US is more concerned with maintaining a political alliance with S.Korea than it is in helping Japan deal with the issue of N.Korea.” may not be likely (Sorry and it is only my idea.). They might be concerned against Japanese attitude towards abduction (and also Korean attitude towards the past), so they won`t agree with Japan.
    And as long as economical intersts are protected (They managed to do so with this FTA) I think the US will not care so much about South Korea going along with China or North Korea (Even if they decide not to retreat to their country, there are no crucial naval base in South Korea.).

    Does that make sence to you? I would like to hear your opinion very much. Thank you for reading.

  22. comment number 22 by: Phil2Musashi

    I totally agree with some of your feelings on the US, Mr.Egg. There is no secret that the US seeks not only to preserve its regional hegemony, but even to further spread it.

    As for dealing with N.Korea, I think you are right in suggesting that as long as America’s economic interests are fullfilled, they will not put any pressure on S.Korea to deal with N.Korea.

    Especially with America’s people, their moral, and their resources have been stretched thin due to the sad silly war in Iraq.

    However, last year Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, did say the US planned on spending another 11 billion dollars in upgrading their “security” forces around the N/S Korean border.

    The promise of this sum of money suggests America’s continuing interests in N.Korea.

    But with the war in Iraq draining the US, I wonder whether or not this is still a concern.

    Maybe the US is just shutting up about the issue these days because they prefer having Koreans complain about Japan instead of about them!

    Well, President Roh Moo-hyun, and President Bush are almost out of office, and when they go, there will be a lot of changes.

    Hopefully whoever comes next will try and lead their countries in a peaceful (and smarter!) direction.

  23. comment number 23 by: egg

    Mr/Ms Phil2Musash

    However, last year Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, did say the US planned on spending another 11 billion dollars in upgrading their “security” forces around the N/S Korean border.

    I am sorry, I didn`t know that. It may be a good signal (that they are not retreating fully) not only for Koreans, but for Japanese too. I might be a bit relieved by your news. Thank you.

    Maybe the US is just shutting up about the issue these days because they prefer having Koreans complain about Japan instead of about them!

    I think this cannot be a resaon and Korean peole may be unpleasant about the expression, but I couldn`t help kind of laughing. Quite humourous.

    Hopefully whoever comes next will try and lead their countries in a peaceful (and smarter!) direction.

    I hope so too. May peace prevail in the world! (Rather exagerated the expression but I truely think so.)

  24. comment number 24 by: stannn

    hey,
    I am sorry but japanese abductee problems wouldn’t bother US at all when dealing with noth korea.

    And phil2musashi,
    US will not let SK allign with NK or china.
    I should admit that there are some uncertainties about the future US-NK relation. But I wouldn’t be surprised that
    US-NK relation would dramatically change in the near future. If US let Kim Jungil keep his regime as now, NK might change the attitude toward the US over a night since NK is not a communist country but a cult/totalitarian country where people would regard US’s changing of policy as their victory or US’s surrender to their great leader.

    And egg,

    US wouldn’t remove its troops from the Europe or asia though they might relocate them to the central asia to encircle the potential threats-russia and china.
    No offense but i am sorry to say this;US doesn’t regard japan as an equal independent partner but rather a means to relieve its burdens. So in this limited sense, US would allow japan’s new role in Asia. So if US looks indifferent to Japanese abductee problem, don’t be angry or disappointed but just accept the reality.

  25. comment number 25 by: egg

    stannn, nice to be able to talk with you again.

    US wouldn’t remove its troops from the Europe or asia though they might relocate them to the central asia to encircle the potential threats-russia and china.

    If so, I would be quite relieved. I think the world will not go unstabilised so much. It is a good thing.

    US doesn’t regard japan as an equal independent partner but rather a means to relieve its burdens.

    I think the arguments will be more constructive if the words “equal independent partner”, “a means to relieve its burdens” were defined rigidly. (Please, no intention of offence, I would like to hear your views.)

    don’t be angry or disappointed but just accept the reality.

    I think I am accepting the reality though my assumptions may be wrong. I am not angry with American attitude at all. They have their interst.
    The abduction probrem is a probrem between the two country, Japan and North Korea but at the same time it is a probrem against humanity (just like the comfort woman issue). I think highly of American roll in the world so, I might say I am a little disappointed with their attitude against abduction but again they have their interst. No one can blame that.
    Anyway, it is so enjoyable to talk with you and sorry if I made you angry.

  26. comment number 26 by: egg

    stannn, by the way, I have heard that South Korea too has the probrems of North Korean abductions. I thought the numbers were in hundreds and thousands. Are they all concidered to be traitors? Aren`t you disappointed or sad against American attitude?
    I think the Korean Government is thinking that under the sunshine policy, North Korea will open their country and maybe annexation or unification can be done.
    Do you believe that theory? If not, what do you think should be done?
    I personaly think that the quickest way to solve the probrems(both abductions and nuclear development) would be braking the present North Korean regime (We should provide aids when it happen). But as we threw away imperiasm and militerism, the only ways left for us are expecting America to act (there will be little possibility though.) or to keep pressuring them so that they will come back to the talks.
    From that point of view, to say frankly, the aids that Chinese and the South Korean government are providing are quite a nuisanse for us. After the Japanese and other countries victims who were abducted by North Korea comes back, I will say nothing or I might even say I would approve to that. But now, it is a nuisanse.
    I think sorry for the people in North Korea but the aids will be a help to keep their present regime.
    Does that make sense to you? I would like to hear your opinions.

  27. comment number 27 by: egg

    I think sorry for the people in North Korea but the aids will be a help to keep their present regime.

    should be

    I think sorry for the people in North Korea but the aids will be a an obstacle to hold talks with them.

    Sorry.

  28. comment number 28 by: stannn

    egg,
    You didn’t make me angry at all. 🙂
    There are many south koreans fishermen or former POWs in NK. And I feel disappointed with Souhth Korean government’s attitude but not with US. For the current sunshine policy, I don’t think that it will lead to the NK’s collapse but rather help NK regime survive. Sunshine policy will be only effective when the aids given by SK are distributed to the NK people in a clean and transparent manner also with the full support from US. And although the quickest way to solve NK problems is to resort to the military force, it is too dangerous. Also
    just pressing and isolating NK turned out ineffective so far, rather it has consolidated NK regime.
    So what would be the best way to deal with NK?
    Well, in my opinion, SK and US should engage with NK,setting diplomatic relations and bring NK into the international system, providing aids with a checked and balanced way. NK regime has been telling its people that all the troubles they had should be endured to survive extinction threats from the outer world, especially US and its collaborators in SK. So ironically with the threats from US gone, there would be none to blame but themselves if NK don’t change.

  29. comment number 29 by: egg

    stannn, it is fun to read your post. Thank you for replying me.

    You didn’t make me angry at all.

    Oh, I am relieved to hear that.

    Well, in my opinion, SK and US should engage with NK,setting diplomatic relations and bring NK into the international system, providing aids with a checked and balanced way.

    No intention to offend you but I am rather puzzled. What is the difference between the Sunshine Policy? May be this part? “providing aids with a checked and balanced way.”
    But will North Korea accept that?

    NK regime has been telling its people that all the troubles they had should be endured to survive extinction threats from the outer world, especially US and its collaborators in SK. So ironically with the threats from US gone, there would be none to blame but themselves if NK don’t change.

    I am not saying that I am sure about all the incidents that happened in the Korean peninsula, but what do you think about KEDO? Wasn`t that enough?
    I agree that genuine deplomatic resolution(only by talks, no pressuring) is the best, but can it be done? I think those deplomatic resolution is able when you are confident that opponent will keep his promise. (This argument may be kind of “egg or chiken” argument though.)
    Besides, as North Korea can not develop herself with the present regine, will a day come when the North Korean regime stop telling “that all the troubles they had should be endured to survive extinction threats from the outer world, especially US and its collaborators in SK”?
    I am sorry to say that I am quite pessimistic about that.
    Again I am looking forward to hear your opinions. Thank you.