Dangerous Japanese "Right Wingers" vs. North Korean "Leader" Kim Jong-il

Asia-based correspondent Norimitsu Onishi doesn't seem to appreciate criticism of the unhinged dictatorship of North Korea, whether it's coming from Christian conservatives or even North Korea defectors.

This weekend it was Japanese "rightists" singled out for oblique criticism in Onishi's "Japan Rightists Fan Fury Over North Korea Abductions."

"The Japanese government's posters show the map of a blood-red North Korea blotting out the eyes of a Japanese teenager. They hint darkly that this country's youth are at risk and urge Japanese to open their eyes to the threat from North Korea."

"The posters were on prominent display at a rally this week to call attention to Japanese abducted by North Korea three decades ago and who, Japan says, are still held there."

Where else would they be held - if they're still alive?

"The people who usually show up at such events - family members, their supporters, members of right-wing organizations - waited for a special first-time guest: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. 'We can never compromise on the abduction issue,' Mr. Abe told the crowd. 'I swear that my administration will tackle this as its top priority.'

Onishi seems puzzled as to why Japan can't just forgive and forget: "Outside Japan, the abductions may have played out long ago, after North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-il, admitted four years ago that the crimes had occurred and returned five survivors. But here, they are still a burning issue, kept alive in the news media every day by nationalist politicians and groups that pound at the topic as firmly as their cherished goals, such as jettisoning the pacifist Constitution and instilling patriotism and moral values in schools.

Those "rightists" sure seem scary in Onishi's over-dramatic telling (although one does seem to have taken things way too far).

"The highly emotional issue has contributed to silencing more moderate voices who expose themselves to physical harm or verbal threats from the right wing....The issue has silenced Japanese moderates critical of the government's overall hawkish domestic and foreign policies.

"One exception, Koichi Kato, a senior lawmaker in Mr. Abe's Liberal Democratic Party, has been an outspoken critic of hard-line policies toward Asia and of the resurgent nationalism in Japan. In August, a right-wing official angered by Mr. Kato's comments burned down his family home before trying unsuccessfully to commit hara-kiri."

Notice that after all these unflattering labels for Japanese critics of the North Korean dictatorship, the only label he offers up for North Korea's tyrant Kim Jong-il is "leader."