King—min Liu compares Japan's situation with North Korea to Israel's situation with Iran in the New York Sun. Prime Minister Koizumi was in Israel last week, and met with Prime Minister Olmert as the war was ongoing.
Israel is surrounded by nasty neighbors who would stop at nothing to try to wipe the Jewish state off the map. Iran, whose outspoken president has made its intentions clear, is speeding up its effort to build the bomb in defiance of the international community. North Korea is Japan's Iran. So—called friends in the neighborhood are no comfort either. Egypt, the first Arab state to recognize Israel, proves to be not very helpful after all. Japan also found out that China and South Korea side more with North Korea. The United Nations also brings no good news. How many times has Israel found itself isolated in the world body that once equated Zionism with racism? The unsuccessful bid for a permanent seat at the Security Council last year must also have left Tokyo, the second largest financial contributor to the United Nations, with a sour taste in the mouth.
One fundamental lesson the Japanese must learn from the Israelis is that they're not competing in a popularity contest. It's fine if you can get others onboard, but don't count on it. The state of Israel wouldn't even exist today if the Israelis were deferential to their neighbors' wishes or if they had listened to the international community's advice. Only through die—hard determination and the courage to go it alone, if necessary, with some highly unpopular actions could Israel survive.
This reality should hit home with the Japanese in light of the reactions from China and South Korea after the latest round of North Korean missile test. Instead of criticizing the party which fired the missiles, the Chinese and the South Koreans were more interested in pointing their fingers at the Japanese. Seoul, for example, has said that the firing of Taepodong—2 constituted no crisis because "it was not aimed at any particular party" and "there is no reason to fuss over this from the break of dawn like Japan, but every reason to do the opposite."