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North Korea supposedly targeting Japan as Korean Peninsula conflict heats up

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MARCH 18, 2013

North Korea said today that Japan is “no exception” if the North decides to carry out a preemptive nuclear strike on whomever it considers as threats. The announcement came after Tokyo announced possible additional sanctions from the UN as a consequence of Pyongyang’s third nuclear test.

In a dispatch issued today by the North Korean agency, KCNA, the secretive communist regime accused Japan of trying to “add fuel to the fire” in the already “serious situation on the Korean peninsula, where a bullet can cause accidental nuclear war. ”

In his usual bellicose tone, the office, which includes an editorial in the party, “Rodong Sinmun”, warns that “it would be a terrible mistake to think that Japan is safe in case of triggering a war on the Korean peninsula”.

In early March, North Korea announced that its army is ready to launch nuclear missiles capable of reaching the United States, a new threat after the new sanctions were approved by the UN in retaliation to the third atomic test that the communist country carried out last February 12.

“If the Japanese reactionaries haywire in complicity with EE.UU., they will face a terrible blow, and the Korean people will be able to unleash their long-suppressed resentment,” concluded the editorial.

In addition, North Korea has radicalized his usual threats after the beginning of military exercises called Key Resolve and Foal Eagle currently being done by the U.S. Army and South Korea in the region.

The beginning of these maneuvers, considered by Pyongyang as a threat to the country, prompted North Korea to cut off the only line of communication with South Korea, located in the border village of Panmunjom, and declare void the armistice reached after the Korean War between 1950-1953.

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World Health Organization warns about rise in cancer cases due to Fukushima radiation

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | FEBRUARY 28, 2013

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Thursday that there is an increased risk of some types of cancer among Japanese who were most affected by the Fukushima nuclear accident that took place in March 2011. Since exposure after the disaster has been continuous, the effects of the radiation have been wide spread not only in Japan, but the rest of the world.

The UN agency has published a report put together by international experts on the health risks linked to the Fukushima tragedy caused by the earthquake and tsunami that hit the region in Japan on March 11, 2011.

These experts have concluded that for the general population, both in Japan and in the rest of the world, in general, the risk of higher rates of cancer should be low, but some kinds of cancer may experience higher rates as a result of the exposure, especially in the weeks after the explosion at the nuclear plant. But the damage is not concentrated to people who live in Japan or the rest of the world.

Nuclear material has leaked into the ground and to the sea, which makes much if not all of the seafood and fish captured near that side of the Japanese coast unfit for consumption.

The report is clear that “the estimated risk for some specific cancers in certain strata of the population of Fukushima has increased”, hence the need to have “long-term continuous monitoring and medical examinations of these people.”

The Director of Public Health and Environment at the WHO, Maria Neira, explained that “the breakdown of the data on the basis of age, sex and proximity to the nuclear plant shows an increased risk of cancer for people living in most polluted areas. ”

“Out of them, even in the Fukushima prefecture, it is not anticipated to have increases in the incidence of cancer,” she explained. Thus, according to WHO figures, it is forecast that the population will experience a 4 percent increase of all cancers among women and children who were exposed, and overall a 6 percent increased risk of breast cancer. These figures are debated by other studies which conclude that the risk of cancer is much higher, even in areas far away from ground zero.

This population will also have a 70 percent greater chance of getting thyroid cancer – usually the risk of this cancer is 0.75 percent -. As for the men who were exposed to the nuclear accident while in their infancy, they will have a 7 percent increased risk of developing leukemia.

As for the workers of the emergency services who worked at the plant after the tragedy, it is estimated that “about two thirds” of them are at risk for cancer as likely as the rest of the population, while the remaining third have a higher risk. The one third found to be at a higher risk are those who worked closer to the disaster area.

Moreover, the report, which consists of 200 pages, notes that it is expected to have an increase in the number of abortions, stillbirths and other mental and physical problems that can affect newborns after the accident due to radiation.

The experts have also analyzed the psychosocial impact that the disaster could have on the health and welfare of the victims. In this regard, WHO has stressed that this aspect should not be ignored in the context of the overall response.

According to Neira, “it is necessary to carry out a long-term health monitoring of people at increased risk, and that these people need to be afforded the necessary medical monitoring and support services.”

“In addition to strengthening medical support services, environmental monitoring is required, including food and water, in order to reduce the potential radiation exposure in the future,” stated the director of the Food Safety at WHO, Angelika Tritscher.

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Secret talks between U.S. and North Korea

American military planes carried Americans officials and equipment to the Asian country. Officials spoke about the country’s affairs post Kim Jong Il’s death.

By YOSHIHIRO MAKINO | ASAHI SHIMBUN | FEBRUARY 20, 2013

Senior U.S. administration officials held secret talks in North Korea on at least three occasions in 2011 and 2012, The Asahi Shimbun has learned.

Although the visits had potential implications for Japan, Washington did not inform its security partner at the time and only informally confirmed one of them when the Japanese side pressed, government and other sources in Japan, South Korea and the United States said.

The U.S. State Department even warned the Foreign Ministry against making further inquiries, saying they would harm bilateral relations, the sources said.

U.S. military planes flew from an air base in Guam to Pyongyang and back on April 7, 2012, and again on a longer visit lasting from Aug. 18-20, the sources said.

It is believed that those aboard included Sydney Seiler, director for Korea at the U.S. National Security Council, and Joseph DeTrani, who headed the North Korea desk at the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence. DeTrani left the post in May.

They met with North Korean officials and discussed policies following the death of leader Kim Jong Il in December 2011.

The North Korean delegation included Jang Song Thaek, vice chairman of the National Defense Commission and husband of Kim Jong Il’s sister. Jang is widely considered to serve as a mentor for Kim Jong Un, who succeeded his father as his nation’s leader.

The Japanese government only learned about the flights after receiving reports from hobbyists monitoring activity at military bases and also analyzing air traffic flight plans.

When the Japanese side submitted an official inquiry, U.S. officials expressed frustration that the request had been made, citing the subject’s confidential nature. The State Department warned Japan against inquiring further, saying Washington-Tokyo ties could be damaged.

The third visit that The Asahi Shimbun has confirmed is one that took place in November 2011. Sources said at least one military aircraft from the Guam air base loaded heavy equipment, including bulldozers, at Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo and flew to Pyongyang.

It is believed that the delegation included officials from the U.S. Pacific Command. They met with North Korean officials and discussed efforts to recover the remains of U.S. soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, the sources said.

When Japan inquired about this visit, U.S. officials unofficially confirmed that it had taken place, the sources said.

Please check a related article at (http://ajw.asahi.com/article/asia/korean_peninsula/AJ201302150084).

Japan is reeling between economic and nuclear crises

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | OCTOBER 23, 2012

The earthquake that shook Japan last year is not the only origin of the shock waves the country is now experiencing. The economic crisis has also shaken the Asian nation. During the first semester of the current fiscal year, the Japanese had a historic fall in exports, which in turn resulted in the largest fiscal deficit.

The financial crisis in the Euro zone and North America, greatly decreased the amount of products that Japan was able to send abroad which together with the costly imports of crude oil gave the island’s economy a double punch right on the face. The explosion and collapse of the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima complex not only caused the contamination of most of the food and water on the island, but also meant that Japan had to increase imports of oil to satisfy its energy needs.

In the period from April to September, the trade deficit in what is considered the third world economy, surged 90.1 percent year on year and stood at 3.22 trillion yen (31,200 million euros), the highest since 1979, when the Ministry of Finance began compiling the results of this indicator.

Behind this decline was the drop in exports, a pillar that supports about 40% of Japan’s gross domestic product and has been handicapped primarily by lower demand due to the global economic crisis. Japanese exports fell sharply especially in Europe, where they were down 16.1%, with significant losses in countries like the UK (-26.3%), Italy (-31.4%) and Germany (-11, 7%), and Japanese traditional sectors such as semiconductors, electronic devices or vehicles.

Japan posted its first trade deficit in this period with the European Union, which registered at 92,100 million yen (890 million euros), according to preliminary data released Tuesday. In the case of Spain, in the spotlight because of its debt crisis, Japan closed the fiscal semester with a trade deficit of 59.259 million yen (573 million euros), the result of a fall in exports of 19.3%, while imports increased by 13.7%.

To this scenario, Japan had to add the difficult situation with China, which is Japan’s largest trading partner. The two countries began a  territorial dispute that resulted in the worst bilateral tension in years and is reflected in the decline in demand for Japanese products in the Chinese mainland.

In the first six months of the current fiscal year, exports from Japan to the second largest economy contracted by 8.2% over the same period last year, while imports rose 2%. The consequence was a growing deficit of 1, 53 trillion yen (14,800 million euros). The drop was even more pronounced in the month of September, when the conflict with China escalated and there was a wave of demonstrations against Japan all over China. Some protestors even attacked Japanese-owned companies.

Sales for that month, which originated in Japan, suffered a setback of 14.1%, while imports increased by 3.8% over the same month of 2011. The general decline in Japanese exports was also influenced by the strengthening of the yen, which is seen by many investors as a refuge in times of economic uncertainty. The value of the Yen caused Japanese manufacturers to get a smaller return for their products.

The slowdown in exports stopped Japan’s economic recovery after the setback at the devastating tsunami and nuclear accident in March 2011. Imports from Japan increased between April and September by 2.6% year on year to 35.38 trillion yen (EUR 342.537 million), largely due to an increase of almost 10% on the purchase of energy resources.

Japan used to get around 30% of its power from nuclear plants, but after the Fukushima explosion, and with nearly all of its nuclear plants out of service, the country had to buy more oil to power up its thermal power plants. Crude oil imports increased by 8.3% in the first half of the fiscal year, while purchases of liquefied natural went to 24.3%.

Unfortunately, the crisis is all but ending for Japan. New reports as recent as last week, state that Unit 4 from the Fukushima Nuclear Complex, which currently holds more than 1,500 nuclear fuel rods, is near complete collapse. If the total decimation of the nuclear reactor is completed, the deadly radiation would make it imperative to evacuate the whole island. The amount of radiation could be so serious, that it could make much of the world completely uninhabitable.

As reported on NaturalNews.com:

“According to the Secretary of former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the ground beneath Unit 4 has already sunk by about 31.5 inches since the disaster, and this sinking has taken place unevenly. If the ground continues to sink, which it is expected to, or if another earthquake of even as low as a magnitude six occurs in the region, the entire structure could collapse, which would fully drain the cooling pool and cause a catastrophic meltdown.”

As it turns out, Japan’s economic problems are not necessarily what is attracting the attention of the country and the rest of the world.

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Tokyo Injects Fiat Money while Beijing Talks about Bond Attack on Japan

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | SEPTEMBER 19, 2012

The territorial conflict for the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands on the East China Sea have revealed two things in the last few days. First, China’s thirst to defeat its rivals in the region, despite American interventionism. Two, China will not necessarily use military weapons. Instead, it will use its economic might.

While the Japanese Central Bank announced it will follow on the steps of the American Federal Reserve and European Central Bank in flooding the market with money to keep its economy afloat, in Beijing the Communist Party led government is now considering attacking Japan by imposing sanctions on its main funding source: the sale of government bonds.

China is Japan’s main creditor today with holdings of over $230 billion in Japanese government issued bonds. This is China’s strongest weapon at the moment, or at least the one that the Chinese may use to obligate Japan to withdraw from the territorial dispute that has now called for the intervention of United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

The most recent asset purchase program in Japan was extended by about 10 billion yen (€ 97,200 Mn), to 80 trillion yen (778 000 € Mn). In turn, the types of interest are maintained between 0 and 0.1%, a level at which they are since October 2010. The same policies are now being used by the United States Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, which continue to facilitate funds to large financial institutions while denying loans to small and mid-size entrepreneurs.

The Bank of Japan opted, just like the Fed, to inflate its currency, by printing fiat money into the banking system in an attempt to revive the economy. As seen for the past 4 years, the insane policy of creating fiat money out of nothing does not work. In fact, it only prolongs the crisis because governments are not doing anything to kick start their economies.

The decision has favored the Nikkei, Japan’s stock market. Transactions closed with a rise of 1.19%. Stock markets are another tool in the rigged game that governments use to paint a colorful picture about otherwise dying economies, because they do not represent the actual state of those economies, but that of specific sectors. Stock prices, as in the case of Facebook, can be manipulated to show whatever the manipulators want to show.

The fake snowballing effect of the fiat money printing mechanism reached Europe, where the local markets received the news about the Japanese Bank injecting the worthless money into the economy as a good sign, which helped lift the markets.

In the meantime, in China, Jin Baisong, a member of the Chinese Academy of International Trade wrote on the China Daily newspaper that his government should “impose sanctions on Japan in the most effective manner” to bring Japan to its knees. He said China should consider invoke the security exception to punish Japan.

Other Chinese media such as the Hong Kong Economic Journal published an article about China’s plans to to cut off Japan’s supplies of rare earth metals which Japan needs to produce high tech consumer goods for local and international electronic giants. The considerations to punish Japan through credit lending, imposing cuts of raw materials and calling on international trade organizations to sanction Japan are three of the first steps China is considering to tame down the country’s intent to claim the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands as its property.

In the last two days, multiple protests exploded all over China against the Japanese which prompted many Japanese companies to close their doors for fear of retaliation.

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