Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bilateral 'marriage' needs injection of vigor

“The United States has so far been inclined toward ‘me-ism,’” said Ichiro Fujisaki, the Japanese ambassador. “But in his inaugural address the new president adopted a tone of ‘we-ism,’ if you know what I mean.”

Boy would Fujisaki be disappointed.

Monday, January 19, 2009

One last conversation between Aso and Bush

On his last day in office, George Bush had a conversation with several world leaders over the phone. One of the people he talked to was Taro Aso. The Yomiuri Shimbun published an article about the conversation two days later.

“During the conversation, Aso expressed his respect for the heavy responsibility carried by Bush as a world leader,” said the Yomiuri Shimbun. “He also said he would never forget Bush’s support on Japan-North Korea relations, including on the abduction issue.”

On the surface, this remark seems quite complementary. But you have to remember that Japan became very angry with the Bush administration for the way it dealt with North Korea in its final two years. So when Aso said that he would never forget how the Bush administration supported Japan, he may not have had warm and fuzzy feelings streaming through his heart.

Ooh, that sneaky, treacherous Aso. He really takes the cake.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Obama And Conservatives Break Bread At George Will's House

Barack Obama ate dinner at the home of George Will on January 13, 2009. Bill Kristol, David Brooks, and Charles Krauthammer also attended the dinner.

My government “tells” me that the group of them discussed the so-called New Diplomacy at this meeting. Bloggers like me and Jun Okumura weren’t the only one who would be used to communicate to foreign governments in this new era. Governments would also use newspapers, and in particular the editorial and op-ed sections, to convey information to each other.

Not only that, but newspapers writers, and in particular George Will, Bill Kristol, David Brooks, and Charles Krauthammer, would also read and respond to things that bloggers like me wrote. Needless to say, once someone told them that the public might find out about all this, well, the four of them seemed to get real nervous, with the exception of David Brooks. He just got pissed. After all, they know that the government has tortured me and violated my civil rights. And they have stayed silent.

Whoops.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A stormy start to 2009

In an editorial published on New Year’s Day, the Asahi Shimbun called for a “drastic overhaul” of the country.

According to the newspaper, the Koizumi reforms “produced some totally unexpected disastrous social effects.” The number of “working poor” in Japan had increased dramatically. The gap between the rich and the poor had widened. The spending cuts that America wanted had “weakened the social safety net.” Benefits such as unemployment insurance, health care, and public financial aid had been cut.

“The Japanese people long for a bold policy vision that transcends simple short-term measures to stimulate job creation and economic growth,” said the Asahi Shimbun. “They also want strong political leadership that will realize the vision.”

According to the Asahi Shimbun, Japan must meet this challenge using “its own wisdom and abilities” and must not “cave in to outside pressure” like the country did during its previous two crises.