Mouse and the Diplomatic Coup
September 19, 2002
By Art Bushwald
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's historical visit
to North Korea on September 17 culminated in what was considered
by many to be a diplomatic coup - the announcement that within
a month, Japan and North Korea would start on the road to
Almost immediately, political pundits and other observers
attributed the breakthrough to a host of reasons. The ideologically
minded claimed that it was yet another triumph of Western
capitalism over godless Communism, while the pragmatists claimed
that North Korea had no other choice but to join the modern
world. Others maintained that North Korean strongman, Kim
Jong-Il, had come to the conclusion that he needed many friends
in the world because his many military blunders had made him
realize that his country would be no match against a very
belligerent United States. Others felt that maybe Kim had
undergone some sort of spiritual transformation during his
train treks across the vast Siberian wilderness. But overlooked
by most of the pundits and experts was the crucial role that
had been played by Mickey Mouse.
The official story began in May 2001, when the son of Kim
Jong-Il, then 29-year-old Kim Jong-Nam, tried to enter Japan
with his wife, son, and sister-in-law. Knowing that he could
never enter the Land of the Rising Sun with a passport from
his native Land of Evil, the younger Kim had arranged to acquire
travel documents from the "Dominican Republic". Surely Japanese
Immigration would give a pass to these newly minted "Dominicans"
But it was not to be. The younger Kim was caught red-handed
at Narita International Airport and held in detention for
trying to enter the country illegally. When asked why he had
tried to sneak in, Kim replied "I wanted to take my family
to Tokyo Disneyland!"
Not being in a humorous mood, Japanese authorities decided
to unceremoniously deport Kim Jong-Nam and his group to China.
The luckless Kim was not even given the chance to shake hands
with his idol Mickey!
How did all this happen? Well, my sources in the Far East
tell me it all began like this: The younger Kim had been a
fan of the Wonderful World of Disney ever since he saw his
first bootleg video of Walt's famous animated rodent. When
told of the existence of Disneyland, he decided to make it
his life's quest to visit Anaheim and "experience the magic"
for himself. Unfortunately, his country was a member of the
Axis of Evil (known as the "Evil Empire" in those days"),
so he would never be allowed in to the United States. "Besides,"
said his father, "there are no trains going to America".
The younger Kim fell into despair. What was the son of an
evil dictator to do? By a sheer stroke of luck, the younger
Kim learned that there was a Disneyland closer to home, in
Japan. "Japan!" thought Kim. "Why, that's only a short leaky
submarine ride away!"
Unfortunately for Kim, however, all three submarines in his
country's navy were a bit too leaky to make the trip
to Tokyo. Surely there must be another way to fulfill his
As luck would have it, one day the younger Kim was thumbing
through a recent issue of Despot's Daily, when he came across
a most unusual ad.
"Are you the child of a vicious tyrant who's tired of not
being able to visit wonderful places just because of who your
father is? Well, have we got some amazing news for you! Our
company, Passports Unlimited, can fix you up with a passport
from any obscure country you choose! Just imagine! For only
a few thousand US dollars (in unmarked bills, of course),
we can handcraft a genuine- looking passport for you that
will fool immigration officials so you can sneak in and see
the sights of London! Paris! Tokyo!"
Kim's heart skipped a beat. "Tokyo!" he shouted ecstatically.
"Wow! This is my ticket to Disneyland!"
So the younger Kim immediately arranged for some passports
from the "Dominican Republic" to be made for himself and his
wife, son, and sister-in-law. Unfortunately, as was mentioned
before, the Japanese authorities instantly recognized the
work of Passports Unlimited and sent the hapless Kim family
When he arrived back in his home country, the younger Kim
was in a funk. He had come SOOOO close to his dream! But he
had been denied because his father was the leader of an evil
"Dad", pleaded the younger Kim, "if we weren't so evil, maybe
other countries would recognize us and then I could use my
real passport to go to Japan so I could finally get into Tokyo
Disneyland! Well, Dad, what about it, huh? Will you take a
vow to refute evil?"
Kim Jong-Il thought and thought. He kind of liked being a
member of the Axis of Evil - after all, it was a sort of status
symbol to be named one of the world's top villains, even if
his ships and subs were constantly being sunk.
But there was another problem - how could the older Kim explain
the kidnappings of Japanese citizens that his country had
committed? "Sorry," he told his son, "but I just can't bring
myself to do it".
But the younger Kim persisted. "Please Dad! It's not just
for me, it's for my son, too! If we never normalize relations
with Japan, I fear my son will never be able to experience
the thrill of posing for photos in front of Cinderella's Castle
while making "V" signs with his fingers!"
Kim Jong-Il conceded that his son had made a very convincing
argument. But there was still that pesky problem... How could
he explain those kidnappings? Then he thought of a wonderful
idea - he would take the "chimp" approach! That is, he would
blame all his country's transgressions on his predecessor!
And that is what happened. Kim Jong-Il apologized for the
kidnappings, but blamed everything on his predecessor, his
late father! As a result, his country started moving toward
normalized relations with Japan!
And the Kim Jong-Nam family had taken one step closer to
their dream vacation at Disneyland!