As Donald Trump opens up to North Korea, will he leave Japan out in the dark?
Shin Kawashima says the planned summit between the American and North Korean leaders may mean big changes for all the surrounding players, but Tokyo in particular stands to lose out if they strike a deal that leaves Pyongyang still able to threaten Japan
North Korea: fearing diplomatic sidelines, Japan explores possible meeting between Shinzo Abe and Kim Jong-un
Of course, Korea experts do not expect a dramatic change in circumstances as a result of the top-level talks. The majority probably see this development as a single move in a long process of negotiations and exchanges. But the possibility that the Trump administration could reach a “deal” with North Korea on the banning of long-range missile development to remove the threat to the US is not out of the question. Nuclear warheads will not reach the US mainland on short- or intermediate-range missiles. If that is the sort of deal Trump works out, then the US relationship with Japan, which is in range of those short- and intermediate-range missiles, may slip into darkness.
Shin Kawashima is professor for international relations in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo