What a way to wake up in the morning. There I was watching the news the other night when Japan’s main news station NHK was focusing on the best rainwear to use in the recent torrential rains and thinking, “Boy, everyone is just itching for something awful to happen again.” Then I wake up, turn on the news for the weather (a huge deluge is predicted until the end of the week, with record flooding), and come across this, North Korea launching six missiles toward Japan.
All of them fell into the Sea of Japan, but as yet no one is sure if they were intended to fail or if they just hadn’t worked. Needless to say, the response has been one of reserved alarm, everyone rushing about on TV trying to figure out if this really is a threat or to give their opinions on Kim Il Jong’s intentions. The Japanese news is naturally directly concerned with Japan’s own safety, and the mood on TV and from my friends sending me e-mails, is of grave concern. One of the NHK panel experts stated that between the launching of the missiles and their reaching their target the response time is, at longest, 4 minutes, three being the average. The fact that even after having launched an assumed 6 missiles no one is really sure exactly how many were launched.
And yet, the general mood is one of deliberation and forbearance, rather than the outright “Bomb them into the Stone Age” response of some other countries I know.
Watching the American (supposedly “international”) news typically their response is “What danger does this pose to the US?” Not even any mention of what danger this much more immediately poses to Japan and even more so, South Korea, at and over which the missiles were launched. CNN hauled up the old 2002 Bush pronouncements of “The Axis of Evil”, taking the opportunity to justify all that Bush has done over the last five years. Never mind that these missiles were actually launched and people’s concerns here deserve more attention than, for once, the eternal and all-pervading paranoia of the US.
Meanwhile us mere mortals here on the ground are feeling our mortality. Sometimes it seems the juggler has all the knives up in the air and his hands are no longer as deft as they used to be.