Tuesday, June 1, 2010

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.

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