Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kan-Obama meeting

The Asahi Shimbun published an editorial on the first summit between President Obama and Prime Minister Kan on June 29, 2010. According to the Asahi Shimbun, the relationship between America and Japan had been reset. However, the two sides still needed to tackle the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma relocation issue.

“The deepening of the Japan-U.S. alliance and the alleviation of Okinawa’s burden must be discussed as a package, and the entire nation must start the discussion,” said the Asahi Shimbun. “And it is Kan’s responsibility to lead the discussion.”

This quote makes it seem like Japan has made improving the alliance conditional upon solving the Futenma issue. Solving the Futenma issue through a public discussion is contingent upon telling the public the truth about the relationship between Japan and America. Japan, it seems, is therefore saying that the alliance will remain adrift until we have a public discussion of the history between our two nations.

Of course, none of that happened.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Theater of the absurd

Politico published an article called “Theater of the absurd” on June 27, 2010.

“Welcome to what one exhausted adviser calls the ‘theater of the absurd,’ where a White House is whipsawed by wild, almost unimaginable events that threaten to reshape the public perception of the Obama presidency at every turn,” said Politico.

As examples of these events, Politico cited the Stanley McChrystal article in Rolling Stone and the episode in the Deepwater Horizon saga when a robot knocked off the cap on the oil well.

“All you can do is smile at the absurdity of these things piling up,” said one person close to Obama.

The article forgot to mention me and what my government has been doing to me, but I am pretty sure the Obama administration had me in mind when this article was written.

“Obama advisers talk of being prisoners to uncontrollable events and deeply uncertain about how all of this will play out,” said Politico.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Name Calling

As part of the New Diplomacy, my government “made” me refer to the Europeans as “Eurotrash.” On June 24, I wrote the following in one of my spreadsheets.
I seem to feel better every time after I write [the word] Eurotrash. Clearly, [my government wants me] to write that word more [often].

Monday, June 21, 2010

Wikileaks plans to release files about deadly U.S. airstrike on Afghan civilians

On June 21, WikiLeaks threatened to release a video of an airstrike in Afghanistan. Like the previous video it released, this video showed U.S. forces killing civilians.

Interestingly, WikiLeaks never released the video. It only threatened to release the video. Apparently, WikiLeaks wanted something from the U.S. government and, in this case, the U.S. government gave WikiLeaks what they wanted.

Score one for WikiLeaks in the New Diplomacy, I guess.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Best Course Available

On June 20, I ordered the book “The Best Course Available.” The book was written by Kei Wakaizumi and describes his participation in the secret negotiations between Japan and America. The negotiations took place in 1969, the first year of the Nixon administration. The goal was the return of Okinawa to Japan. In the negotiations, Wakaizumi represented Japan while Henry Kissinger represented America. The negotiations between the two began on January 15, right before Nixon assumed power.

According to Wakaizumi, Kissinger did not know much about Japan (Kissinger had spent his career studying Europe). In addition to having a negotiator who didn’t know much about Japan, Nixon also appointed an ambassador who knew nothing about Japan – Armin Meyer. Prior to that appointment, Meyer spent his career focusing on the Middle East and South Asia. The fact that Nixon made him the ambassador to Japan absolutely flabbergasted Meyer.

As I said in one of my earlier posts, Japan and America seem to have a long history of appointing unqualified people to positions of importance. I count myself as one of these people. I believe they do this to slow things down, as it takes a while for unqualified people to get up to speed. In addition, they can use all of their old tricks on people like us, as we are unprepared for them. And by limiting what they tell us, they can get us to support whatever positions they want because we do not really understand the issues at hand.

The day before Wakaizumi met Kissinger, the Japanese prime minister, Eisaku Sato, met with his ambassador to the U.S., Takezo Shimoda. Shigeru Hori also attended the meeting. The three discussed whether or not Japan should ask America to remove her nukes from Okinawa before she returned the islands to Japan. The Japanese public wanted them removed. However, convincing America to remove her nukes from Okinawa would not be easy.

“If we argue for a ‘denuclearized reversion’ as a condition for reversion, I believe that a rapid decision will be extremely difficult to obtain, given the current international situation,” said Ambassador Shimoda.

Most likely, the ambassador was referring to the situation on the Korean peninsula. North Korea monitored the U.S. military forces located in East Asia. Any reduction in their capabilities might provoke an aggressive response from the country.

However, in spite of the problems associated with such a policy, Eisaku Sato told Ambassador Shimoda to try to convince America to remove her nukes from Okinawa.

“I had my own reservations, but it was clear that if we had been swayed by the Foreign Ministry’s line or the opinions of the Americans, the reversion that was eventually achieved would not have been possible,” said Shigeru Hori. “I realized that Sato had displayed true leadership, executing a once-in-a-lifetime decision.”

Wakaizumi never explains why this decision was so momentous. But let me take a stab at it. The decision put America in a no-win situation. On the one hand, America could remove its nukes from Okinawa and return the islands to Japan, but that would provoke a military response from North Korea. On the other hand, America could refuse to remove her nukes from Okinawa but in that case America would have to maintain her possession of the islands. Had America tried to keep Okinawa, the alliance between Japan and America would not have survived. The existing security treaty between the two countries was due to expire the next year, in 1970. If America refused to return Okinawa by then, Japan would not have agreed to extend the treaty and the alliance would be finished.

You might think that North Korea would not attack America or its allies simply because America removed her nukes from Okinawa. You would be wrong. In fact, the mere possibility that America would remove her nukes from Okinawa provoked a severe reaction from North Korea.

On June 3, the New York Times reported that America might indeed remove her nukes from Okinawa before she returned the islands to Japan. In an apparent protest of this decision, North Korea started attacking South Korea. On June 5, North Korean troops stationed near the border with South Korea started firing at the South Korean troops stationed along the other side of the border. On June 8, North Korea killed five people when one of its vessels fired on a house in Bukpyong. On June 13, the South Korean Central Intelligence Agency captured a North Korean ship carrying 15 commandos while on route to South Korea.

These aggressive acts apparently convinced America that she needed to maintain at least the possibility of a nuclear deterrent on Okinawa because on July 17, during a meeting between Wakaizumi and Morton Halperin, Halperin demanded that Japan sign a secret agreement which would allow America to move its nuclear weapons into Okinawa in the event of an emergency. For her part, Japan never even acknowledged reading the New York Times article which preceded all those North Korean attacks, according to Priscilla Clapp.

In reference to the Times article, Wakaizumi wrote this cryptic remark.

“Whatever expectations may have existed on either side of the negotiating table, the circumstances behind this intricate process demonstrate a principal lesson of diplomacy – namely, the need to acquire as much information as possible about conditions in the country with which one is negotiating,” said Wakaizumi.

Unfortunately, Wakaizumi does not explain the conditions inside either country. So again, let me take a stab at it. Ultimately, America wanted Japan to extend the security treaty and maintain the alliance. To do that, she was willing to return Okinawa to Japan and I’m sure she was hoping to get that over with as soon as possible. Of course, Japan wanted America to return Okinawa and I’m sure she didn’t mind having an alliance with America, but in addition to that Japan wanted more, and she would have to prolong the negotiations to get those things.

“One of the most serious and long-standing strains in the Japanese-American relationship has resulted from the popular feeling in Japan that, because of geographic propinquity to China, long and close cultural association, and economic interests, Japanese have much more reason than Americans to seek fuller and friendlier ties with Communist China, but are prevented from doing so by their close association with a stubborn and shortsighted America,” said Edwin Reischauer, the former U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Not coincidentally, soon after the negotiations on Okinawa began, a cross-border skirmish between the Soviet Union and China gave America an opening to repair her relationship with China. The skirmish took place on March 2 at Zhenbao Island where a group of Chinese soldiers killed 58 Soviet border guards. With the relationship between the Soviet Union and China in tatters, that gave America an opening to improve its relationship with China, something that China herself wanted. America just needed some coaxing to convince her to seize the opportunity.

Japan would provide the necessary persuasion. Over the next few years, in an effort to force America into improving her relationship with China, Japan would continually threaten to destroy her alliance with America. Initially, Japan implemented this strategy by putting America in a no-win situation on Okinawa. Faced with the potential loss of her alliance with Japan, America would slowly improve her relationship with China.

On April 21, America announced that she would try to establish a more normal relationship with Communist China. On July 21, America eased the travel and trade restrictions she imposed on China. On August 1, America asked Romania and Pakistan to discuss with China the possibility of improving relations. On November 7, America ended her patrol of the Taiwan Strait. That patrol had become a symbol of our commitment to support Nationalist China at the expense of Communist China.

With America apparently convinced that she needed to repair her relationship with China, Japan needed to do something which would allow America to return Okinawa in a way that would appease the anti-nuke sentiment in Japan while not leaving North Korea with the impression that America had gone soft.

America and Japan would secretly agree that America would remove her nukes from Okinawa but would have the right to reintroduce those weapons to Okinawa in the event of an emergency. To prevent the public from learning about this agreement, only four people would know of its existence – Richard Nixon, Eisaku Sato, Henry Kissinger, and Kei Wakaizumi.

Eisaku Sato would travel to America to sign this agreement and the agreement to return Okinawa to Japan. After signing those agreements, Japan and America would release a communique describing what both sides had agreed to. On November 6, during a meeting with Wakaizumi, Sato provided him with three different versions of that communique. One version stated unequivocally that Okinawa would have no nukes when America returned the islands to Japan. The other two versions were more ambiguous about whether or not Okinawa would contain nukes after America returned the islands. Sato wanted the communique to state as clearly as possible that America would remove her nukes from Okinawa and he instructed Wakaizumi to write the final version of the document with Kissinger.

After looking at the three draft communiqués provided by Sato, Wakaizumi came up with a few other versions on his own. To decide which version to use, Wakaizumi met with Kissinger on November 11 and presented him with five different versions of the communique. Draft 1 stated clearly that America would remove her nukes from Okinawa. Draft 5 was completely ambiguous. Drafts 2, 3, and 4 were somewhere in between in their clarity, with lower number drafts showing less ambiguity and higher number drafts showing a higher degree of ambiguity. At one point, in the negotiation, Kissinger asked Wakaizumi if he could show the secret agreement to the Secretary of State. Wakaizumi refused. Immediately after that, Kissinger replied, “Regarding the communique: we’re finding it very hard to agree to Draft 2.”

“In retrospect, I imagine that he might even been intending to go along with Draft 2 if I had agreed to ‘the secret minute’ being shown to the secretary of state,” said Wakaizumi.

Presumably, had Kissinger told Secretary of State Rogers about the secret agreement, Rogers would have leaked the contents of the agreement to the press. In that case, America would agree to adopt a communique that stated, rather clearly, that America would remove its nukes from Okinawa. Apparently, America felt that having the right to reintroduce her nukes to Okinawa would deter North Korea from any provocative behavior. However, throughout the negotiations, Wakaizumi repeatedly stated that the secret agreement must remain secret.

“Under no circumstances should this ‘small-room document’ be shown elsewhere – a point that must be fully impressed on President Nixon,” said Wakaizumi. “A leak would cause an enormous amount of trouble, and I should warn you that it might wreck the historic events that we’ve both participated in.”

In fact, to ensure that the agreement would not be leaked to the press, Wakaizumi would not even allow translators to participate in the signing of the agreement. A translator would have come in handy for Sato, as the agreement was written in English, a language that Sato did not understand. To verify that the document Sato signed was in fact the right agreement, Wakaizumi provided him with a copy of the document written in English. Before Sato signed the agreement, he compared the copy to the one America gave him to sign to verify that they were the same.

On November 19, Eisaku Sato signed the secret agreement and America agreed to return Okinawa to Japan. On that day, Nixon spoke about the significance of the alliance between America and Japan.

“Today, as we look to the future of the Pacific, we recognize that whether peace survives in the last third of the century will depend more on what happens in the Pacific than in any other area of the world,” said Nixon. “And whether we have peace and prosperity and progress in the Pacific will depend more than anything else upon the cooperation of the United States and Japan, the two strongest and the two most prosperous nations in the Pacific area.”

Nixon would later refer to his decision to return Okinawa to Japan as “among the most important decisions I have taken as President.”

“There have been many meetings between the heads of government of Japan and the United States over the past twenty-five years,” said Nixon. “I am confident that history will record that this is the most significant meeting that has occurred since the end of World War II.”

However, the agreement to return Okinawa did not, on the surface, improve relations between Japan and America. The following year, the two nations would fight each other over limiting Japanese textile exports to America, something that Nixon had wanted. The textile negotiations would reach a standstill, despite the fact that Eisaku Sato and Richard Nixon had reached a secret agreement on the issue at their meeting in November. None of the textile negotiators knew about this agreement.

According to Wakaizumi, Japan and America made the people who negotiated the textile agreement express their disappointment about the way those negotiations played out. Armin Meyer said the issue caused him the most trouble during his tenure. According to him, the negotiations damaged the relationship to an extent beyond all reason. Quite simply, the textile issue did not matter all that much.

Presumably, Japan would have used the textile issue to blow up the alliance had America not cooperated with Japan on China. In an apparent retaliation for how Japan handled this issue, America hit Japan with the so-called Nixon Shocks in 1971. America dropped the gold standard, which led to a strengthening of the yen. But on the other hand, Nixon announced he would soon visit China.

“Informed U.S. sources said this double shock was meant to penalize Japan for its breach of trust over the textile exports issue,” said Hisahiko Okazaki.

The strengthening yen plunged the Japanese economy into a recession. As for the trip to China, Japan reacted with mock horror.

“The failure of our leadership has left us exposed as a hapless small power manipulated at will by big powers,” said the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. “This is our most serious crossroads since the end of the war. We must question the American alliance and we must ask whether economic power by itself is really an effective means to insure our national interests.”

With the relationship between China and America on the mend, and with the relationship between America and Japan apparently in tatters, Japan used the Nixon Shocks as an excuse to improve her relationship with China.

“Leftists and Sinophiles have never failed to say ‘Americans betrayed us first,’” said Okazaki.

In reality, I bet Japan agreed to strengthen the yen to reward America for improving her relationship with China, and for providing Japan with an opportunity to do likewise.

And so on September 29, during a trip to China, the new Japanese prime minister, Kakuei Tanaka, and the leader of China, Mao Zedong, normalized relations between their two countries, a step that America did not take until the Carter administration.

A month before Tanaka went to China, Japan informed America that she would normalize her relations with China. Apparently, upon learning the news, Henry Kissinger, in a dramatic outburst of anger, exclaimed, “Of all the treacherous sons of bitches, the Japs take the cake!”

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I create a new spreadsheet

On June 17, I created a new spreadsheet which I used to record how my health fluctuated on a day-to-day basis. By this time, I was already having a hard time concentrating. I was having a hard time remembering things. I had something short of a headache and I often felt tired and sore. In the spreadsheet, I would note this condition by writing that I felt “foggy.”

Remarks to Journalists in Seoul

Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell met with South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Yong-joon on June 17, 2010. After their meeting, they answered a few questions from the media. One of the reporters asked Campbell about U.S. – Japan relations. In his answer, Campbell talked about the recent discussions over the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

“We have had some very intense interactions in recent months about some specific issues associated with our military bases,” said Campbell.

Again, I believe Campbell was referring to my participation in the discussions.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

CIA holds a conference on the Korean War

On June 16, 2010, the CIA released 1,300 documents related to the Korean War. The CIA released those documents as part of a conference on the war. Several CIA officials spoke at that conference.

“Intelligence-wise, we have come far,” said Peter A. Clement, the CIA deputy director of Intelligence for Analytic Programs. “But at its core, the (job) of understanding leaders’ decisions ... is still a challenge.”

This suggests that the CIA really did allow other governments – probably Japan, and perhaps China – to inject thoughts into my mind. And it suggests that the CIA didn’t understand why they wanted to do that.

Bow down. Bow down.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Japan, U.S. confirm pact to allow nukes in Okinawa invalid

On June 15, Katsuya Okada confirmed that the secret agreement which allowed America to station nuclear weapons in Okinawa at times of emergency was no longer valid.

With Japan's Leaders

Soon after I posted that long article on Global Talk 21, the end of which implied that Japan and America had actually been working together during World War II, a voice inside my head said, “I wonder why Japan and America went to war against each other in the first place?” Remembering that I had bought the book “With Japan’s Leaders” some time ago, I opened the book and flipped through the pages. Realizing that the book covered the pre-war history of Japan and America, I decided to read the book so I could answer that question.

The book was written by Frederick Moore, an American who at times had worked for the Japanese government. In his earlier years, Frederick Moore defended the actions of Japan.

“I had argued for years that Western peoples were not warranted in denouncing the nation for imperialism that was relatively limited compared with the imperialisms of Britain, France and Russia,” said Moore.

Under the Treaty of Versailles, Britain and France had seized much of the Middle East “under the artifice of ‘mandates.’” Separately, America had seized the Philippines, a nation located six thousand miles away. But when Japan took Korea, a nation located sixty miles away, the American people howled with indignation.

“To many Japanese the white man appeared to assume superior rights,” said Moore.

He justified the actions of Japan by arguing that she had improved the situation in Taiwan and Korea.

“The people of Formosa and Korea were better off under Japanese control than they had been for centuries under the rule of their own Chinese or Korean overlords,” said Moore.

Moore continued to defend Japan after she seized Manchuria.

“I knew they would give the masses of the people a better administration than they had known under the former Chinese bandit, Chang Tso-lin, who made himself ruler of the land by force and handed on the satrapy to his son, Chang Hsueh-liang, an opium addict,” said Moore.

But Moore stopped defending Japan after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, which he referred to as a turning point that “meant disaster for millions upon millions of people.” In this comment, Moore seems to blame Japan for the outbreak of World War II and seems to imply that the war would not have happened had Japan not orchestrated this incident.

Japan used the Marco Polo Bridge Incident as an excuse to invade northern China. Moore argued that Japan had no right to invade that territory, as her previous acquisition of Manchuria gave her all the resources she needed.

To those who worried about how China would fare under Japanese rule, one Japanese official offered this explanation. After the Japanese military “stabilized” China, the “better sort of Japanese” would come in, rebuild, and improve the country, as they had done in Korea and Taiwan.

Domino Theory

Moore had his own explanation of why Japan invaded northern China.

“For two or more generations the goal of the Japanese militarists had been set,” said Moore. “One by one, as the opportunities offered, they planned to drive the Western Powers out of their special lodgments on the Western Pacific. To them it seemed logical that, as Japanese were kept out of the United States, Canada and Australia, Britons and Americans should be made to leave East Asia.”

Over the years, Japan had some success in carrying out this plan. Japan removed Russia from Southern Manchuria in 1904 and then from Northern Manchuria in 1932. During World War I, she removed the Germans from Shantung.

“What nation would be next on the program depended on how the opportunities came,” said Moore.

He noted that Japan had already “stabilized” Taiwan, and then Korea, and then Manchuria. If Japan managed to “stabilize” northern China, Japan would create a new incident to “stabilize” the Yangtze Valley. From there, Japan would proceed to southern China, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and even Australia.

Moore appears to be arguing that the West would have allowed Japan to conquer Manchuria and keep that possession, but when Japan invaded northern China that convinced everyone that Japan would continue on invading other lands until she conquered all of East Asia, and the West could not allow that. To bring this back to his earlier comment on Japan and World War II, perhaps World War II began to prevent Japan from making good on its plans.

China

Moore did not believe Japan could control China.

“No outside nation could assume control of four hundred millions of people who had proved themselves for a thousand years so efficient – though slow – in overcoming all invaders,” said Moore. “The Japanese would win every battle, I said, but in spite of that the Chinese would in the course of time defeat them.”

To remain in China, Moore believed that Japan would have to continually apply brutal and harsh methods. Apparently, Japan had decided to pursue this course, as she was “deliberately trying to instill in [her] men a ferocity designed to make them dreaded as foes.” Presumably, Japan had hoped to intimidate the Chinese into submission. However, Moore believed Japan would instead produce “a determination to resist” amongst the population.

In December of 1936, Marshal Chang Hsueh-liang detained Chiang Kai-shek and demanded that his Nationalists join with the Communists to fight against Japan. According to Moore, the Japanese Embassy viewed this event with “amused satisfaction” because the kidnapping gave Japan an excuse to attack both Chinese armies before they could unite.

“The Chinese war lords seemed to have done the Japanese a very good turn,” said Moore.

The way Moore explains this incident makes it seem like Japan orchestrated the kidnapping to begin with as a pretext to attack the Chinese military. According to him, Japan thought Chiang Kai-shek would not help the Chinese generals in the north, and so Japan would quickly gain control of the five northern provinces. Though Chiang Kai-shek did not send his army north, instead he gathered his army near Shanghai and prepared to attack the Japanese Army there. Japan believed she could defeat those forces in three to six months and then force China into signing a peace agreement. Instead, the fighting continued, moving from Shanghai to Nanking.

Japan had defeated every Chinese army she had faced, regardless of how many more troops the Chinese had. But Chiang Kai-shek refused to surrender. Both the Nationalists and the Communists used the sheer size of China to hide from and harass the Japanese military. Japan had a million soldiers in China, but they could only hold the larger cities.

Having a million troops in China was not cheap. Japan was spending much of her resources on fighting the war. By the summer of 1939, Japan was having doubts about the wisdom of her current course.

“There was a waning of confidence in Japan,” said Moore.

Japan appeared to be isolated. The American media denounced what Japan was doing in China, proclaiming that Japan had been slaughtering people with a cruelty not seen since the Dark Ages. I imagine the reaction in Europe was no better and I imagine some in Japan were having second thoughts about their adventure in China.

It is remarkable to compare this account of how Japan fared in China to how America has fared in its wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. You would think, at some point, our leaders would learn a thing or two after seeing and having all these prior experiences. This book provides some valuable insight on how insurgencies work, which is probably one of the reasons why someone “made” me read it.

Europe convinces Japan to continue

Everything changed on September 1, when Germany invaded Poland and Hitler began his conquest of Europe. According to Moore, it appeared that the Fates had intervened on behalf of Japan.

“The Fates sent Adolf Hitler into the world to disrupt and dismay the Powers of Europe and warn the great United States to abate its sympathy and withhold its support from China,” said Moore.

With Europe in the midst of a war, the pressure from France, Britain, and Germany to force Japan out of China evaporated.

“When Hitler proved his supremacy in Europe the time long hoped for had come – the time to rid the East of all the European Powers at a blast,” said Moore.

The Fates had “opened the gates of the rich regions of the Indies to the Japanese if they would but recharge their determination.”

After Germany defeated France, Japan could seize Indochina, the French colony in Southeast Asia. After Germany defeated the Netherlands, Japan could seize the Dutch East Indies. And if Japan could persuade America to remain neutral, she could seize the British colonies in Southeast Asia.

“It was not necessary for Hitler to say, ‘I have given the Japanese the chance’; it was obvious that he had,” said Moore.

Originally, Japan wanted to create an East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere which only included China. But after Germany conquered much of Europe, Japan expanded its plans to include Indochina and the Dutch East Indies and renamed their project the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.

The prospects of America remaining neutral seemed bright, as America remained on the sidelines throughout Hitler’s conquest of Europe.

“If the country could not go to war in behalf of France and England surely it would not in behalf of China,” said Moore. “Japan’s hands were freed to proceed with her conquest and let the American Government talk. It was obvious the diplomatic pressure was largely bluff. The relief was tremendous.”

Once Germany began its conquest of Europe, the American media shifted its focus from the atrocities Japan committed in China to the higher level of atrocity committed by Germany in Europe.

According to Moore, as Japan saw it, “the day of the old decadent British Empire had passed, and it was doomed to defeat and partitioning.”

“If there had ever been a chance of getting the Japanese Army back out of China it was gone when the conflict in Europe began,” said Moore.

The way Moore describes this sequence of events makes it seem like Europe had orchestrated the rise of Hitler and its own conquest to convince Japan to continue on to Southeast Asia. Apparently, Europe did not want Japan to give up on its path of conquest. Europe probably hoped that Japan would go so far that she would eventually have to fight America and would lose her empire. At that point, Europe could swoop in and pick up the remains.

Foreign Minister Matsuoka

On July 18, 1940, Japan decided that Yosuke Matsuoka would become its new foreign minister. By that time, Moore had known Matsuoka for about three decades. Nine years prior to his appointment as foreign minister, in a conversation with Moore, Matsuoka said the following.

“I want to tell you one thing more before I go. What I am doing now is with a deliberate purpose. But when I get higher up you need have no fear. I'll direct affairs then myself, and I’ll do it wisely.”

Moore described Matsuoka as an actor who loved the limelight. His speech and the manner in which he conducted himself were very American. Matsuoka gained these attributes from his childhood. At the age of twelve, his family dumped him on the shores of America and told him to fend for himself.

“The act was cruel but it made Matsuoka,” said Moore.

His American traits made him valuable to his government. There were not many Japanese who could speak English.

“In the diplomatic service there were not a dozen men who had good and safe command of the language,” said Moore.

Matsuoka aspired to become a peacemaker. To his government, he argued that he knew America, and so he could successfully negotiate with her. As Moore describes it, his principle method of negotiation seemed to be intimidation.

Alliance

As part of this strategy, on September 27, in what Moore referred to as a “grand coup,” Matsuoka allied Japan with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Matsuoka believed that America, faced with the formidable alliance of Japan, Germany, and Italy, would be deterred from supporting Britain and China.

But instead of deterring America, the act merely seemed to provoke her. On October 13, in a speech delivered in Ohio, Roosevelt declared that America would continue to build up its defenses and armaments.

“Our course is clear,” said Roosevelt. “We will continue to help those who resist aggression, and who now hold the aggressors far from our shores.”

A few weeks later, Roosevelt would face off against Wendell Willkie in the 1940 Presidential Election. Before the election, many Americans told Japan that President Roosevelt would not win a third term, that America would not go to war again after what happened at the Versailles Conference, and that America had “no interests worth fighting for in Asia.” But on November 5, Roosevelt defeated Wendell Willkie in the election.

German-Americans

As part of the rationale for aligning Japan with Germany, Matsuoka believed that the millions of Americans of German descent would prevent Roosevelt from stopping Germany. Matsuoka obtained this information from German agents living in Tokyo.

“He ought to have known from the lesson of 1917 that the Americans of German blood were Americans first, but he was not a man to take lessons that hobbled his stride,” said Moore. “And the German agents were not men to remind him of the Kaiser’s mistake in 1917 or Hitler’s belief that the United States could be hamstrung by domestic disorder.”

At several points in his book, Moore compares the Germany before World War II to the Germany before World War I and he notes the similarities. My government has led me to believe that the West had hoped to do a repeat of what it had done in World War I in World War II. In World War I, the Ottoman Empire aligned itself with Germany. Germany lost the war. The West dismantled the Ottoman Empire. Britain and France seized its territory as mandates. In World War II, the West seems to have had the same hopes for the Japanese empire. With Japan aligned with Germany, things seemed to have gotten off on the right track.

For his part, Moore told Japan that the Germans were secretly trying to “promote ill-feeling toward Japan.” According to him, the Germans “were playing their own game both ways.”

The Germans had their own ideas of what Japan should do. They believed Japan should try to drive a wedge between America and Britain. Moore told Japan that “because of language, literature, religion, similarity of institutions, and above all mutual interests and joint security the two English-speaking peoples would stand together in defense and that no German or Japanese propaganda could alienate them from each other.”

A new ambassador

After the presidential election, Japan decided to replace its ambassador in Washington. Kichisaburo Nomura became the new Japanese ambassador on November 27. Nomura seemed to believe that the age of colonization would come to an end sooner or later. He told Moore that Japan would have to withdraw from China eventually, and Britain would have to leave India. Nomura insisted that Matsuoka wanted a settlement. In addition, Matsuoka hoped America and Japan could work together to resolve the conflict between Britain and Germany. After all, Japan was the ally of Germany and America was the ally of Britain. Perhaps America and Japan could work together as mediators between the two warring factions. But despite her alliance with Germany, Nomura repeatedly told Moore that Japan would take her our course and would not serve other powers, meaning Germany.

Unlike his relationship with other Japanese officials, Moore could speak frankly with Nomura, and he did not hesitate to do so. In one his early conversations, Moore accused Nomura of being a “false front,” meaning that Japan had sent him to America with false information. In response, Nomura replied, “That may be. I do not know. But I don’t think so.”

Insincerity seemed to be a hallmark of the diplomatic relations between Japan and America at the time. In many meetings, Japanese officials would claim that they could not control their Army.

“In effect they came stating that they could not stop their Army at present and therefore appealed to us to do what we could to stop the United States,” said Moore.

Moore believed that Matsuoka sent Nomura, a Navy man, to America because he believed Nomura would impress Washington. Before sending Nomura to America, Matsuoka ordered him to speak firmly to the American government. Matsuoka believed that Japan “was securely entrenched and formidably allied,” according to Moore. This, he believed, was the key to negotiating with America. To me, this sounds like Matsuoka believed that Japan had to “negotiate from a position of strength.” That is a phrase I have heard a lot of in the past few years. American officials seem to swear by it. Presumably, Matsuoka adhered to this strategy because someone in America taught him this.

On December 23, Moore wrote a report for Ambassador Nomura. In the report, Moore said that the U.S. government was preparing its people for war. War with Germany seemed likely, as America wanted to prevent Germany from defeating Britain. On the other hand, America would not go to war to defend China or Indochina. But she would go to war to defend the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, and possibly Singapore. Moore noted that, in reaction to the alliance Japan formed with Germany and Italy, America decided to increase its aid to Britain, restrict its shipments to Japan, and increase its aid to China, though Moore admitted that providing aid to China would not do much. So instead of deterring America from acting, America used the creation of the Axis Alliance as an excuse to punish Japan. Matsuoka’s strategy seemed to be backfiring.

Ambassador Nomura disagreed with the contents of the report. He had been talking to American military officials and they provided him with a different view. During the election, both candidates said America would not fight “other people’s wars.” Colonel Lindbergh and President Hoover had been traveling across the nation, telling everyone that America should not fight Germany. Nomura believed America had much to lose by going to war.

Japan and America both wanted each other to stay out of the war, but for opposite reasons. Japan wanted America to remain out of the war so that Germany could defeat Britain. America wanted Japan to remain out of the war so that Britain could defeat Germany. To keep Japan out of the war, America continued to supply Japan with scrap iron and oil. America feared that if she stopped providing Japan with those materials, she would invade Indochina, Thailand, and the Dutch East Indies in order to obtain them.

On March 15, 1941, in a speech delivered by FDR, he said that America would provide ships, planes, and other supplies to Britain and China. According to Moore, this was the “first definite evidence” that America might go to war against Japan. Two days after the speech, Moore wrote a memo to Japan.

“The United States is now at war,” declared Moore.

According to him, America would have probably left Japan alone had she not signed the treaty with Germany.

“Demonstrations like these against the United States do not intimidate the American people,” said Moore. “They aggravate American feelings and cause further preparations against Japan as well as Germany.”

Nevertheless, Matsuoka decided to double down. In an apparent bid to bolster Japan’s position further, Matsuoka signed a peace treaty with Russia. After signing the treaty, Matsuoka sent another message to Washington. In that message, Matsuoka said that, while visiting Germany, he had seen the invincible might of its military and he begged America to recognize the changes that were taking place in the world. Unfortunately for him, the world did not stop changing.

In mid June, Winston Churchill warned the world that Germany would soon invade Russia. Moore agreed with that assessment and told Nomura as much. Nomura said that Moore must believe Hitler was a madman, to which Moore responded in the affirmative.

“No, he’s not,” replied Nomura.

The communists in America apparently agreed with Ambassador Nomura. They called Winston Churchill a liar and continued to disrupt the operations of U.S. munitions factories.

On June 22, Germany invaded Russia.

Moore noted the irony of what the American Communists had done.

“The American Communists were helping the Nazis by trying to sabotage American efforts to help the British, but they thought they were helping the Soviet Union!” said Moore.

After the invasion, Japan would quickly replace Matsuoka.

“Evidently he had failed to comprehend Adolf Hitler – if he had not been hoodwinked by him,” said Moore.

This comment suggests that Europe really did fool Japan into aligning itself with Germany.

“I was sorry for Matsuoka, who had so long been a friend of mine, but was glad to see him go out of an office in which he was doing more harm than good, prodding his country into threatening war as a means to promoting peace,” said Moore.

Upon learning that Germany had invaded Russia, Nomura smiled, shook his head, and said, “I cannot speak. I am ambassador.”

The stage is set

In July, Japan invaded the southern portion of Indochina. In response, America stopped trading with Japan. The trade embargo left Japan in a bind. Japan only had enough oil in storage to last a year. To gain access to more oil, Japan could invade the countries of Southeast Asia. To prevent Japan from doing this, America tried to prolong the negotiations as much as possible.

“This had become highly important because a part of the American Navy had been taken out of the Pacific and put into the Atlantic,” said Moore.

Amazingly, Nomura informed Moore that Japan had no intention of ending the negotiations and Japan did not invade the Dutch East Indies or Singapore.

“The delay was valuable to the United States and detrimental to Japan,” said Moore. “The Japanese knew and said this, and our Government must have known it.”

Moore never says this, but at some point, Japan must have decided that she wanted to maintain her relationship with America after the war, and so she behaved in a manner that would allow the two to cooperate afterwards.

In a conversation with Nomura, Moore said Japan had three choices. Japan could maintain the status quo. She could advance further but then there would be war. Or Japan could return most of the territory she had seized. If Japan did so, Europe and America would normalize their relations with her.

“War with Japanese will not be an easy matter,” replied Nomura. “It will not be a war of only six months, as some of your newspapers are saying, nor even only a year.”

On November 20, Japan offered to remove her forces from southern Indochina. In return, Japan wanted America to lift its trade embargo. On November 26, America made its counter offer, demanding that Japan remove its forces from Indochina and China. After Japan received that offer, she began massing her forces near the border between Indochina and Thailand. General Tojo declared that Japan would drive Britain and America out of East Asia “with vengeance.” War seemed inevitable.

But before the war began, Japan sent a special envoy, Saburo Kurusu, to America to continue the negotiations. At one point, he had a conversation with Moore.

“I know what governments say and I know what they do,” said Kurusu. “I was for a long time, as you know, in charge of commercial relations in the Foreign Office, and I know from experience how reluctant other countries were to deal fairly with us.”

“I know, too, and I suppose the United States was one of the worst,” said Moore.

“I can’t say your country was the worst,” replied Kurusu. “The British were the worst.”

Some things never change.

Moore told Kurusu that he hoped World War II would teach everyone a lesson, but Kurusu just shook his head in disbelief.

Japan attacked Pearl Harbor soon after that conversation. Moore was grateful that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor directly. Had Japan attacked the East Indies, the isolationists could argue that America should not go to war to defend European colonies. By attacking Pearl Harbor, Japan had united the American people. I assume Japan attacked Pearl Harbor for that reason and I assume America told Japan to do that.

According to Moore, before Japan could seize the East Indies, the Dutch employed a “scorched earth” policy in “wrathful indignation,” blasting the oil wells and destroying the refineries. Japan would have a hard time restoring those facilities, but Japan would not have a hard time crushing the European forces in East Asia.

“Never in all history had such conquests been achieved in so brief a time,” said Moore. “Within three months a nation believed to be partially prostrate after four and a half years of war in China, where a million of its men were still ‘bogged down,’ had driven the armed forces of the two greatest naval Powers and their allies out of more territory than Nazi Germany had subjected in nearly three years of warfare. The aggregate land expanse of the Japanese conquests, including French Indo-China, was greater than of all Europe, excluding Russia.”

According to Moore, if Japan succeeded in removing Britain from East Asia, its people would rue the day, as Britain had served the people of Asia well.

After reading the book, I couldn’t help but wonder how Moore really felt about Britain and Europe. When he praised British colonialism, was he just trying to be diplomatic, or did he really support the abominable actions of Britain? And I wondered the same thing about the people who ran our government. Had our government been serving the interests of Europe? Based on what Moore said, you could certainly make that argument.

According to him, America did not profit from its dealings with China. America exported about $40 million in goods per year to China. Of that, America made a profit of perhaps $8 million. That money would not cover the cost of maintaining the gunboats and troops we had in China.

By contrast, the Dutch made a ton of money by colonizing the East Indies, according to Moore. They did not have to pay for the defense of that colony, as they relied on the military services of Britain and America. As for the British, according to Moore, on the profitability scale, they came somewhere in between the Netherlands and America. Based on this account, it seems like once again, America was paying for the protection of Europe.

In any event, Moore believed that Britain and America would prevail in World War II (the book was published before the war ended). According to Moore, after the war, those two countries needed to make a “wise but not selfish peace.” Otherwise, mankind would remain cursed with hatred and resentment.

“The problem of peace will test the character and wisdom of these two nations as they have never been tested before,” said Moore.

Other than this book, I haven’t come across any other material written by Moore. Personally, I would like to know how Moore reacted to the way things turned out. On the one hand, Japan did lose World War II, as Moore had predicted. And Japan had to give up its holdings in Taiwan, Manchuria, and Korea. This part was similar to what happened after World War I, when the Ottoman Empire collapsed. But something else happened after World War II. East Asia did what Japan had always wanted (at least according to Moore) – she made Europe leave.

East Asia gave Europe a dose of what Japan had experienced during her occupation of China. After the war, Europe tried to reestablish her colonies in East Asia but the people rose up and launched insurgencies throughout the region.

My government has led me to believe that this was Japan’s plan all along. First, she needed to crush the European forces in East Asia. Then, she needed to lose the war. Finally, when Europe tried to reestablish her presence in the region, the people of Asia needed to rise up and prevent them from retaking control.

In the coming decades, Japan would work hard to build up the economies of East Asia, proving that Japan really did want to improve the nations that she once tried to conquer. Today, thanks in part to the efforts made by Japan, East Asia has become the fastest growing region in the world and the West is now trembling in fear, worried that two centuries of Western dominance is coming to an end.

In his book, Moore wrote that America had been underestimating Japan.

“We Americans had indulged ourselves too long in the saying that the Japanese were only copiers of others,” said Moore. “That they were copiers was true; they copied what others did well – as any wise people would and we Americans have. But they had done, in all history, independent thinking as well. There is no more distinctive people in the world than they. Our fault was in looking upon them too long as a people from whom we could learn nothing. To underestimate the capacity of a potential enemy is a mistake, yet we supinely indulged in it for decades. Our superiority complex had lulled us into over-confidence.”

Perhaps this quote is as true today as it was seven decades ago. For the past twenty years, the Japanese economy has suffered from slow growth and deflation. Many people in the West seem to have written Japan off. Maybe that will turn out to be a mistake. Maybe someone, somewhere will tell the world of Japan’s incredible story. Maybe this story will transform the relationships between the nations of East Asia. Maybe this story will transform the way we view history. Maybe this story will change the way governments behave. Maybe this story will inspire Japan to revitalize its economy and change the way she interacts with the world.

Hehehe.

History end here.

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

Monday, June 14, 2010

The 'other war' in Siberia

The Asahi Shimbun published an editorial on World War II on June 14, 2010.

“With its proposal for an East Asian community, Japan can no longer afford to remain content with views about history and the world that only satisfy it,” said the Asahi Shimbun. “Now, reconciliation over the past is more important than ever. We hope Prime Minister Naoto Kan will inherit the principle of ‘taking a hard and straight look at history’ espoused by his predecessor.”

Unfortunately, neither Naoto Kan nor the Asahi Shimbun followed that advice.

Senator Daniel K. Inouye Japan Society Speech

Senator Daniel Inouye gave a speech at the Japan Society on June 14, 2010.

“This is one of the most trying and challenging times experienced in the U.S. and Japan relationship during the past 65 years,” said Senator Inouye.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Japan-U.S. relations cry out for new management, dialogue

The Japan Times published an op-ed written by Kazuo Ogoura, a former Japanese diplomat, on June 13, 2010. According to him, the rise of China was not only reshaping the world, it was also reshaping the relationship between Japan and America.

“Vaguely but perceptively, many Japanese have begun to sense the long-term strategic differences vis-à-vis China, which may have already arisen or potentially will arise between Japan and the U.S.,” said Ogoura.

In the future, Ogoura hinted that Japan might prioritize its policies on education, welfare, and the environment over the alliance with America.

To deal with all these issues, Ogoura argued that the alliance between Japan needed new management and new forums to communicate.

In the past, a group of experts managed the relationship between Japan and America behind the scenes. Today, however, Japan and America should solve their problems in a more transparent way, according to him.

“It is indeed deplorable that two democratic nations that are supposed to share fundamental values of human rights should not have a deeper, wider and more farsighted dialogue between various layers of society,” said Ogoura.

To deal with the situation, Ogoura proposed creating two new discussion forums. He wanted a forum in which a group of experts from both sides would meet and talk “boldly and frankly” about the alliance. He also wanted an “action-oriented intellectual citizen-to-citizen dialogue.”

I’m not sure Ogoura had me in mind when he wrote this article, but I’m pretty sure that America did.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Less bad news is good news for Japan

On June 10, 2010, Ian Bremmer, the founder of the Eurasia Group, wrote a blog post called “Less bad news is good news for Japan.” In that post, Bremmer wrote that the resignation of Hatoyama might improve things in Japan, though he was still pessimistic about the prospects for the country.

“I’m less overtly negative,” said Bremmer. “And for Japan right now, that’s saying something.”

Jun Okumura works for Ian Bremmer at the Eurasia Group. I believe Bremmer knew about what was happening to me. For some reason, it appears he blames the situation on Japan.

In any event, I had some interesting things to say about some of Bremmer’s articles. I wonder if he read any of it?

Robert Gates interview

Robert Frost interviewed Robert Gates for Al Jazeera on June 10, 2010.

“If you are looking ahead, would you expect good news of non-proliferation to come first from Iran or North Korea?” said Robert Frost.

“If there is a difference in time I suspect it will be a nanosecond,” replied Gates.

This implies there is some sort of link between the two issues. Perhaps both of those nations are waiting for the other to disarm before disarming. East Asia controls North Korea. The West controls Iran. Perhaps East Asia and the West are only willing to give up their attack dog if the other side gives up their attack dog too.

Robert Gates also talked about Afghanistan in the interview.

“A failure in Afghanistan, for NATO, I think will have consequences for a long time to come,” said Robert Gates. “Not just for the United States but for the alliance itself having made this commitment, and so I think these conflicts, however one might agree or disagree how they started, the outcome matters a great deal.”

Here Gates is implying that Europe is responsible for whether or not the mission in Afghanistan succeeds. He is basically threatening to dissolve NATO unless Europe fixes Afghanistan. This gives further credence to the idea that Europe does control the Taliban.

And notice he implies that Europe was not happy about how the war in Afghanistan started. This is almost an admission that America either knew about 9/11 before it happened or was responsible for the attack.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Okada, Kitazawa hope to get past contentious base plan

“Looking back over the past eight or nine months, I have undertaken many challenges, but there are many problems that have not produced results,” said Katsuya Okada. “In a sense, I have been planting seeds until now, and I feel that I have been given an opportunity for them to bear fruit, to move Japanese diplomacy forward.”

Challenges for Cabinet

The Asahi Shimbun published an editorial called “Challenges for Cabinet” on June 9, 2010. The newspaper said the Kan administration needed to transform Japanese politics. Specifically, they wanted the DPJ to create a “politics of choice and persuasion” which it claimed was different from the previous system.

“Under the so-called 1955 political system that rendered regime changes unrealistic, the ruling and opposition parties maintained confrontational relations on the surface, but compromises were struck underneath,” said the Asahi Shimbun.

By contrast, under the new system, the politicians would have an open and honest discussion about the issues at hand and they would try to convince each other of the merits of their views.

This is another article that is somewhat different than what I remember. I remember the Asahi Shimbun, and the rest of the Japanese media, more inclined to having each politician stick to one position, which kind of makes persuasion unnecessary, at least persuasion involving one lawmaker to another. The politicians would still have to convince the public. But the party that won the election would get to implement their policies. Remember that one of the chief complaints against Hatoyama was his dithering and indecision. Actually, I believe Japan made Hatoyama repeatedly switch positions in an attempt to convince America, and in particular me, that a person should adopt one position and stick to it.

But regardless of what kind of system the Asahi Shimbun originally wanted, I am fairly sure they were serious about the need to transform Japanese politics. In the article, the Asahi Shimbun said that if the Kan administration failed to transform Japanese politics, that failure would cause “irreparable damage to Japan’s democracy.” Later on, my government “told” me that the Kan administration was failing so completely that democracy might end in Japan. Japan might chose to simply get rid of its politicians and let the bureaucrats take over.

I still believe that the only important functions that the politicians perform are to make jokes and waste time. Unfortunately, those functions haven’t meant a whole lot recently. The world has been wasting far too much of its time on political theater. Governments need to start getting things done. The only government that seems to be getting anything done is the Chinese government. They seem to have the better system.

In fact, it appears that Japan is making America chose. America must either help the Kan administration become a success or Japan may end its current form of democracy and adopt a system more along the lines of the Chinese system. Given that America and Europe have always done everything they could to keep China and Japan separate, you would think they would do something to help out the Kan administration, but if they have, I haven’t seen it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Kan vows to exert strong leadership to revive Japan

Naoto Kan replaced Yukio Hatoyama as the prime minister of Japan on June 8, 2010. On June 11, at the Japanese Diet, Kan gave his first policy address as prime minister. He promised to provide Japan with strong leadership and said he would base his administration on “realism.” Presumably, by “realism,” Kan meant that for Japan, it would be a return to the Yoshida Doctrine.

According to the Yoshida Doctrine, Japan would try to build its own economy while letting the U.S. provide for its security. Of course, this is the opposite of what Hatoyama said he wanted – a more equal relationship.

In reality, the main difference between the two approaches was mostly in the words used by the Japanese politicians and the Japanese media. Under the Kan administration, in their words, they would always stress the importance of the relationship between Japan and America – that was their tatemae (建前), their façade they put on when dealing with the rest of the world. But their honne (本音), their true feelings, was still with their neighbors and the desire to build an East Asia Community.

During the Kan administration, Japan would implement a policy called seikei bunri (政経 分離), the division between politics and economics. This policy goes back to at least the Nixon administration. Under this policy, regardless of how bad the political relationship between Japan, China, and Korea became, Japan would nonetheless try to improve its economic relationship with those countries and thus build its East Asia Community. I imagine the first time Japan tried to explain this policy to America, the conversation went something like this.
Japan: You guys have the division between church and state right?

America: Uh…yeah.

Japan: Well, we have the division between politics and economics. If you guys can have a division between church and state, we can have a division between politics and economics.

America: Uh…okay.
Not surprisingly, relations between America and Japan did not improve under the Kan administration.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

U.S. Intelligence Analyst Arrested in WikiLeaks Video Probe

On June 6, 2010, Wired reported that the U.S. government arrested one of its soldiers, Bradley Manning, for transferring hundreds of thousands of classified State Department documents to WikiLeaks.

“Hillary Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public,” said Manning.

The release of these documents would become known as Cablegate and would begin on November 28, 2010. WikiLeaks would not release all the documents on that date. Instead, they would typically release a few documents everyday. With hundreds of thousands of documents in their possession, this process could take years, or even decades to complete.

And this slow dribble of document releases stands in stark contrast to their efforts on the Iraq War, in with they released nearly 400,000 documents in a single day. Obviously, they must be taking their time for a reason.

Cablegate was another instance of the New Diplomacy. This time, however, much of the information released would be damaging to so-called authoritarian governments, which implies that WikiLeaks was working on behalf of the West.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Foreign Ministry May Have Discarded Documents On Secret Japan-U.S. Pact

On June 4, Katsuya Okada released a report which claimed that Japan may have destroyed some of the secret agreements related to allowing U.S. ships to visit ports in Japan while carrying nuclear weapons.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Japan's bureaucracy can learn from Britain

The Asahi Shimbun interviewed Sir Graham Fry on June 3, 2010.

“In Japan, documents that are crucial to lawsuits are not always submitted to the courts,” said the Asahi Shimbun. “Did you know that?”

“No,” replied Sir Graham Fry. “Do you mean the government hides the documents? That would be very serious. Concealment is the worst thing to do.”

In all likelihood, the Asahi Shimbun was referring to the documents related to the reversion of Okinawa to Japan. The bureaucrats have claimed that some of those documents have been destroyed. I really doubt that. But some of those documents are needed for the trial of Takichi Nishiyama, a former reporter for the Mainichi Shimbun. Over the past 30 years, Nishiyama and the government have been “fighting” one another in court over the release of those documents.

The Asahi Shimbun probably asked Sir Graham Fry this question in order to get a British official to say that the documents should be released. Of course, the last thing the British want is for the public to know the truth. I think the Asahi Shimbun was having a little bit of fun at the expense of Mr. Fry.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bloody Nose

While in the shower, my nose started bleeding profusely. I have never had a nose bleed as severe as the one I had on this day. It became so bad that I thought I might have to go to the hospital if the bleeding continued. Fortunately, however, my nose stopped bleeding soon after I had this thought.

This nosebleed seemed to affect my health, as the amount of exercise I was able to do after the nosebleed dropped sharply, by about 30%.

The Start of a Trend

On June 1, 2010, after a meeting with Ichiro Ozawa and Azuma Koshiishi, Yukio Hatoyama flashed a thumbs up sign to the press.



He would announce his resignation the next day. There has been a lot of speculation on why Hatoyama would give a thumbs up the day before he announced his resignation. The most likely explanation is that after the meeting, Hatoyama was signaling to America that he had been able to convince Ozawa to resign as the DPJ Secretary General. At the time, there were rumors that Ozawa held the real power behind the scenes and was perhaps behind the efforts to construct an East Asian Community without the United States. Of course, this is ridiculous and was just political theater, but that resignation implied that Japan might soon adopt a more America friendly attitude. In terms of the language used publicly by Japanese officials, the resignation did mark a turning point in the relationship between America and Japan but in terms of the substance of the relationship, I don’t think the resignation of Ozawa improved things.

Incidentally, this thumbs up was the first of many by public officials, not just in Japan, but also in Europe and America.