Monday, 24 May 2004

Krazy Kim's People Mart

So the big news this week in Japan has been Kim Jong-Il, North Korean and the Japanese abductee thing that, in truth, has been going on for ages.

But first I should point out that being a foreigner here, I can't get nearly as worked up as the Japanese about it. I find this understandable, for the Japanese it is an affront to their nationhood and all a jolly nasty thing indeed so they are getting very, very het up about it all. And rightly so, I suppose, but I can't sustain the levels of vitriol that they can.

Anyway, if you didn't already know, in the 1970s and 1980s, nefarious north korean types came to Japan in mini-subs, abducted perfectly normal Japanese people off lonely and windswept beaches in Niigata and Hokkaido and then whisked them off to the homeland. Some people say they knicked 400 people, others say only 10 to 15, so who knows? Why did they do it? Well apparently it was so the abducted Japanese could teach the North Koreans about Japan and in Japanese ways, like wash before having a bath, don't wear the toilet slippers around the house, that sort of thing, so the NK's could be spies. All very James Bond. Then they kidnapped some Japanese women so they could marry the Japanese men and so not be lonely, I think.

But of course the NK's denied all this for years and years and no one believed the Japanese. At big UN meetings the rest of the world kind of shook their heads and smiled indulgently and said 'yes of course the NK's are kidnapping your citizens, now come along and take the little blue pill, there's a good little paranoid schizophrenic nation'.

Until the NK's fessed up about 18 months ago.

And about 18 months ago a bunch of the original abductees came home to Japan. And there was much rejoicing and the Japanese govt said 'look we f**king told you so' and everyone lived happily ever after.

Except that there weren't enough people. 'Where are the rest and where are the kids?' said the Japanese.

' see...its like this' said Krazy Kim 'well everyone else that we kidnapped is dead, mostly through suicide, sorry about that. And the kids, well, you can't have them back. Bibble bibble my old man's a dustmen like my new hair goes with shoes. Frog!' Which was the most coherent thing he'd said in decades. So all the Japanese were a)mightily relieved to have some of their chaps back but b) mightily pissed off that the kids were still there and others were dead.

Until now.

So in a bout of diplomatic tooing and, I would not be in the least bit surprised, a bit of frooing as well, the Japanese PM Koizumi, he of the leonine Micheal Hestletine-stylee hair, trooped off to NK this weekend for a pow-wow with Krazy Kim to see if he couldn't get the kids back and everyone else etc.

We have to stop here and feel just a little bit sorry for Koizumi as he is in an absolute no-win situation. Just about everyone in Japan really wants him to go over there, get out everyone with a trace of Japanese blood in them and then, really, nuke the place. Most off the rest of the world couldn't really give a toss but would have to be really angry if Japan nuked another country and would therefore have to give Koizumi a jolly good telling off. Also, Krazy Kim holds all the aces, as it were. He has the kids, he has the others, he has the information and he doesn't have to give them back if he doesn't want to. Koizumi has some money and some economic aid. As Krazy Kim isn't really too bothered if everyone in his little fiefdom starves to death, what kind of bargaining chip is that?

So off he goes. He is hideously snubbed at the airport, only being met by the Asia Foreign Minister, rather than Krazy Kim, so now the Japanese media want to string up every NK by their ankles before nuking them all. Krazy Kim and Koizumi meet, they chat, they watch dancing girls and get really smashed on cheap Chinese red wine. Later in the evening Krazy Kim says 'look, yur my besht mate and I luv you. No really beeeep! You jusht don' undershandt. I'm off to hartlepool to buy some exploding trousers. Have the kidsht, I never really wanted them anyway.' And so Koizumi says 'nah nah, I do luv you, its jusht, well, its the hair and glasshes. but thanks for the kidsht, have shum econmm... n' stuff'. [the above is the real conversation and you shouldn't believe the nonsense written in the newspapers. Honest. No really.] And they part the best of friends.

Until koizumi gets home and everyone starts calling for his head. 'This is the worst possible outcome' says Yokota (whose daughter was abducted and who it is alledged died in hospital). Now this is patently not true as the worst outcome would have been Koizumi to come back empty handed. But he played his hand too soon, they say, didn't discuss the others, didn't talk about nuclear weapons, gave the aid away and generally got screwed by the opposition.

And now people are screaming at Koizumi along with all the NK's and, of course, Krazy Kim's. And that's the bit that gets me. I can understand the anger of people like Yokota and the other abductees and their families, but Koizumi seems to be trying his best and I wonder when dealing with someone like Krazy Kim, what more one can do short of nuking the place.

and just to let you know

The disintegration of Japanese culture continues apace as Asashoryu won the Summer Sumo tournament with a 13-2 record. Although there was something for the Japanese to shout about as he was pushed all the way by a chap by the name of Hokutoriki, who could quite possibly be a local.

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