North Korean missile launch

Does North Korea have a particular beef with Japan, or is it just a convenient place at which to shoot?

Koreans in general still resent Japan for WWII. More so in North Korea where propaganda has kept the hate stronger.

Japan actually ruled Korea before the war and Korea only gained independence with the Japanese surrender. Japan had annexed Korea back in 1910 in fact.

Yes, North Korea regards Japan as a longtime enemy due to WW2 and prior history. Never mind the fact that Japan is totally a zero-threat to North Korea.

By that train of thought, we and just about everyone else should be shooting at them. Chill out and buy their DVD players.

It is different. Japan held Korea longer than other places they took during the war.

Japan took decades to make a weak apology for the Comfort Women. {Korean women and girls forced into servicing the Japanese military and officials}

It is a lot more serious than US and Japan relations as an example.

There is a lot to it and a little reading could be illuminating. Think of it as closer to the Europeans coming to America and taking the Native’s land. A good reason to be resentful and/or even hating. The Koreans in the end were probably the most mistreated by the Japanese. The Japanese have rarely shown remorse for it either.

There are factors beyond history, of course.

If they launch towards the sea (so that the landing point is free of potential accidentally damaged or injured things), they have to either launch into a narrow strait towards their close and current friend China, or into a more spacious sea towards Japan. Pragmatically, which would you choose?

Furthermore, Japan is a critical ally of the hated US and if a war breaks out the US’s military action will almost certainly launch from Japan, just like during the Korean War. You practice like you intend to fight, so launching a ballistic missile toward your probable enemy’s forward bases constitutes “realism in training.”

Let me add to this: North Korea has tried to lob a missile or two into orbit, and to do this, generally you have to launch to the East, to take advantage of the Earth’s rotation (roughly 700 mph to the East at the latitude of NK). Which once again takes us over Japan.

Add to all the above, NK doesn’t actually want to start a shooting war over a missile test. If you look at a map, shooting over Japan vs. shooting over South Korea is a much longer distance, which gives everyone involved more time to figure out if the missile is aimed over Japan, as opposed to at Japan. South Korea would have to react to any missile launches much quicker than Japan, which increases the chances of a mistake.

That seems rather sophisticated for Kim Jong-un.

Yeah, I don’t really buy into the notion that the son and grandson of dictators who have controlled the country for more than 70 years, despite the best efforts of the US to stop them, who was educated in Switzerland before returning home to take control after his father’s death, who finally realized NK’s long-standing desire to be a nuclear power, is actually “crazy” or “stupid” or “unsophisticated”.

He might be brutal, but he’s not an idiot.

I’d put more money on his sister being intelligent than he. She oversaw things when he signed something with Trump, and made sure that he used her pen instead of the one that Trump offered him.

How is the pen thing a sign of intelligence? Seems like an odd quirk. Unless you’re suggesting she was afraid they would try to assassinate him with a trick pen or something, KGB style? And if that was the fear, then I’m not sure I see it as a sign of intelligence. Not in that assassinating him is unthinkable, just that if that was the plan it definitely wouldn’t happen with a pen that the president personally gave him.

I was thinking of the CIA trying to poison Castro with a scuba suit.

The above article should help you with background, especially the section titled Pre-World War II (1910-1941).

The Japanese were bastards in WWII, and the young Japanese have no idea of the war crimes commited. George Bush’s crew were captured and eaten by the Japanese.
How George H.W. Bush Avoided Being Eaten by Cannibals in World War II (

Plus, the main purpose of a “test” like this is to show everyone else in the world what you can do. Launch a missile over Japan, and you definitively prove that your missiles have enough range to reach Japan.

Bush did exact some measure of payback by puking over a Japanese minister decades later.

An interesting link.

North Korea’s missiles over Japan have little to do with settling old scores; they want to intimidate the U.S. and their allies. It’s a form of blackmail, a way to put pressure on the US and allies to come to the negotiating table and give them just enough money to keep the regime afloat, soldiers fed.

More likely, Kim’s thinking “I can scare everyone into giving my regime money by ending sanctions” or maybe some fuel oil or food so that his army doesn’t turn on him. Japan’s particularly useful because Japan and South Korea don’t always see eye to eye, which absolutely does go back to Japan’s occupation of Korea. North Korea wants to break the US/Japan/South Korea alliance - as does China.

If anyone’s interested in following Korean peninsula security issues, I recommend this website: