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    A guarantee

    More about the very brief Japan-DPRK meeting last weekend (this may have been available from other news outlets earlier this week, but I tend to read the Nikkei thoroughly and half-pay attention to NHK on television while cooking, so this is the first I’ve seen it): Koizumi actually met with Charles Jenkins. Were the whole situation (“Hi! Your wife was kidnapped from her free, prosperous home country to teach its culture to spies in a bankrupt and eventually starving hell-hole of a dystopia, and now that she’s finally home after two decades, she’d kind of like to have her children with her, so we’ll do our damnedest to keep your country from prosecuting you as an Army deserter!”) not so appalling, it would be like a spy thriller. And even as it is, it can be darkly amusing. The report is that, to underscore the message that Japan would “make its utmost efforts” to assure that the US doesn’t push for extradition–meaning that Jenkins can live with his wife and daughters in Japan–a Foreign Ministry official with Koizumi wrote, “I guarantee it [私が保証する is the way the story renders it; paradoxically enough, that means I can’t be sure what the English wording was]” on a slip of paper and passed it across the table. Make a great movie scene.

    Jenkins has, of course, ultimately agreed to meet in Beijing. Beijing is friendly to the DPRK, so Japan initially indicated that it wouldn’t accept a reunion between Jenkins and Soga there, but it’s changed its mind and is now pushing in that direction. Soga expressed anxiety about meeting in Beijing and averred that there’s no way in hell she’s going back to North Korea (I should say not!). So we’ll see who moves. I imagine the first meeting probably will, ultimately, be in China. This is an Asian mother with two unmarried daughters in their late teens and early 20’s, so odds are she’ll decide it’s worth putting aside her concerns about traveling to a DPRK ally and do what needs to be done to get her family back together. My pruriently-curious side (is there any other?) wonders what the first night of pillow talk is going to be like in that reformed household.

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