Sunday, April 5, 2009

Back to Your Regular Programing

In prime time, the DPRK shot off its rocket.

The Japanese were thinking about lunch and Americans were hoping the game would be over in time for Saturday Nite Live. Josh Rogin was going to be host, you know. So, everyone, who mattered, was wide awake waiting for the news bulletin. And President Obama? Well he was asleep and there is nothing the Norks like to do better than to disturb someone's rest.

Prime Minister Aso was delighted. Seven minutes of happiness as his citizens looked to him for leadership. The damn thing even splashed down more or less where it was supposed to.

The Opposition party is faltering and the North Koreans sent him a present. So what if no one could pick him out of a crowd at the G-20. The Norks are so reliable. They always seem to come through for the LDP. In 1998, the US-Japan Guidelines were stuck in the Diet and like a miracle a North Korean missile/rocket flew over Japan. An enemy was born. In 2006, a weak young man with strong national security ideals was becoming prime minister. As if to confirm that the enemy was still there and that Shinzo Abe's tough leadership was needed, another projectile was hurled toward Japan and for good measure a nuclear test was made.

Now, there are plenty of other good reasons for the DPRK (btw Washington's Korea hands love to say DPRK, especially quickly) to test its hardware. But it is a curious coincidence that these experiments are always helpful to the LDP. The Dear Leader certainly does not like change.

Adding to Sunday's fun, was former Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa's observation: "I'm not saying that Japan should discuss the option of going nuclear. But I think Japan should discuss measures against the nuclear threat firmly, such as striking an enemy base and the question of shelters in the event of a contingency. What can be done for the security of Japan must be discussed." In the past, the not always sober Nakagawa, has noted that Japan's Constitution does not prohibit nuclear weapons.

No matter, it was a good day for Mr. Aso. A new poll showed that 66% of the respondents did not agree with DPJ President Ozawa's decision not to step down. The Nork's "flying object" hit nothing and JSDF did nothing. No harm done. A few good sound bites were had by all. Thus, by 4 pm Aso went off to have his haircut at Barber Sato at the Hotel Pacific Tokyo in Takanawa.


  1. Sankei polls also have the LDP slightly ahead of of the DPJ in their latest poll; even though Aso only has 28% approval. What is most telling is that the majority of people (around 60%) were listed as undecided showing just how fed up the masses are about the lack of leadership in Japan.

  2. This reminds me of the thesis that Pyongyang always acts up to ensure a conservative party victory in any South Korean election, because Pyongyang respects hardliners more than those who support it. It could be true too that with such hardliners in both putative allies of the US, Pyongyang could get a "Nixon Goes to China" moment with an American president eager to sue for bilateral peace. I just wonder if this conservative tantrum has ministry support, or is just an electoral stunt.


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