Monday, March 9, 2009

Japan Drops Denial of Cold War 'Treaties'

On March 9, for the first time, the Japanese government confirmed the existence of a set of secret agreements with America.

According to the New York Times, some people in Washington worried that “revealing the treaties was part of an effort by Mr. Hatoyama’s administration to push away from the United States.”

Katsuya Okada denied that allegation. He told reporters that the investigation was “about becoming a government that discloses more information and is more truthful.” However, according to him, many of the secret documents had disappeared.

In INDB, I wrote the following in the notes section for this article.
Democracy is meaningless. The decision making in Japan is as transparent as the decision making in America and China - which is to say not at all. The people cannot make decisions because the government withholds information.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Koizumi's influence wanes, LDP faces negative legacy

On March 4, the Japanese Lower House passed Aso’s stimulus bill. Aside from Koizumi, only one other LDP lawmaker boycotted the vote. According to Kyodo News, the fact that Koizumi could only convince one other LDP lawmaker to stand by him showed that “his political clout no longer seems to be what it once was.”

In fact, it appears that his recent actions were yet another example of Koizumi Theater. It appears that Japan wanted to send America a message that Koizumi, the apparently pro-American Japanese prime minister, no longer had any support from within his party. As such, America could no longer look to Koizumi to move Japan in a direction that America wanted.

So when the Asahi Shimbun implied that Koizumi should boycott the stimulus vote to prove that he was not resurrecting Koizumi political theater, what the Asahi Shimbun really meant was that Koizumi should boycott the stimulus vote to revive Koizumi political theater.

Ooh those sneaky, treacherous guys. They really take the cake.

Japan eyes progress in island row with Russia

“Of course, if we have a very strong government, particularly with strong support from the people, it is easier for us to promote our diplomacy in a drastic way,” said Shotaro Yachi, the former Japanese Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs. “If it (the government) doesn't have a strong grounding ... we can't be so ambitious.”

This is basically the Japanese way of explaining political theater. When America asks Japan to do something, and when Japan doesn’t want to do it, Japan will waste its time on dealing with one scandal after another.

Since the end of the Vietnam War, Japan has only had two prime ministers who really had the sustained support of the Japanese public – Yasuhiro Nakasone and Junichiro Koizumi. That just goes to show you how scandal plagued and how reluctant Japan has been to follow the advice of the American government.

Smart Power in U.S.-China Relations

On March 4, 2009, CSIS published a report on using smart power to enhance the relationship between America and China. Among the report’s recommendations was to increase the amount of public diplomacy between the two nations.

“The level and scope of public diplomacy and strategic communications between China and the United States is dangerously insufficient given the importance of the relationship,” said CSIS. “History has shown that, conducted unskillfully, public diplomacy can easily be dismissed as propaganda; done skillfully, it can significantly enhance U.S.-China relations.”

I was involved in the public diplomacy between China and America, particularly in regards to the exchange rate between the dollar and the yuan. You can see some of my writings on this subject in the files I have posted online (look at both INDB and the China Word documents).