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Ex-CIA agent: Japan's military needed for North Korea collapse

Michael Lee said Seoul is wrong to seek a win-win strategy in negotiations with North Korea.

By
Elizabeth Shim
Izumo, Japan’s biggest warship since World War II, was commissioned to carry helicopters in March. The ship can accommodate up to 470 personnel. File Photo courtesy of Japan Ministry of Defense
Izumo, Japan’s biggest warship since World War II, was commissioned to carry helicopters in March. The ship can accommodate up to 470 personnel. File Photo courtesy of Japan Ministry of Defense

TOKYO, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- A former CIA agent said Tokyo, which is expected to pass a controversial security bill on Friday, should build up its military strength in order to play a key role in a North Korea collapse.

Michael Lee, the 81-year-old former director of the CIA's North Korea section, made the statement in an interview with Sankei Shimbun, the conservative Japanese newspaper that was charged for publishing derogatory remarks about South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

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"The strong samurai spirit of Japan is needed," Lee said on the topic of dealing with North Korea, and added the government in Seoul is not up to the task of reunification.

South Korean outlet Newsis reported Lee, a Korean-American, said Seoul is wrong to seek a win-win strategy in negotiations with North Korea, and added that "now is the time" to take down the Pyongyang regime – citing Kim Jong Un's destabilizing politics of fear.

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Lee also said South Korea's "submissive attitude" to Pyongyang was a "complete failure," and criticized the Park administration for its show of weakness. Lee also said Washington is believed to be changing its North Korea policy and considering a possibility of collapse after Pyongyang refused to give up its nuclear weapons program.

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Lee said it is impossible to coexist with the current regime in North Korea and that the only way to liberate North Koreans from their suffering would be the elimination of the Kim regime.

Japan is expected to pass its security bills on Friday, but protesters across the country have been campaigning against the legislation that they say is "unconstitutional."

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The Japan Times reported Aki Okuda, a student activist who has mobilized a group that has publicly opposed the government's quest to remilitarize Japan, said politicians have not sufficiently explained the bills and likened the steps taken to a "car going forward without brakes."

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