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Japanese Perspectives on the Six-Party Talks and the North Korean Nuclear Crisis
Published February 15, 2012
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Japan has been a core member of the six-party talks from their inception but has pursued its own set of interests that do not always align with other participants. The Japan–North Korean relationship contains unique elements, most notably the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea, an issue that has been elevated by Tokyo policymakers to the core of Japan’s negotiating position. This has led Tokyo to marginalize itself from playing a more assertive role in the negotiations, even as Japanese diplomats felt left out of many of the major discussions held by U.S. officials during the Bush administration. Tokyo endeav- ors to remain a leading member of the six-party talks and often takes among the most aggressive lines toward North Korea, but it remains dissatisfied with the talks’ failure to address both the abductee issue and that of Pyongyang’s ballistic missile program, which directly threatens the Japanese home islands.

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