Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Band Concert

Last night was my daughter's band concert. Her school makes all the children learn French, Latin, and an instrument. They also have to sing, act, and take religion. Faced by many demands, the young musicians are not always practiced or harmonious. Despite the often jarring noise, the parents in the audience are always pleased. This is very much like today's LDP.

Over the weekend, former Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa said that Japan should consider possessing nuclear weapons as a response to North Korea's missile test. He reportedly said "It is common sense worldwide that in pure military terms, nuclear counters nuclear." The headline in the Japan Times read, Nakagawa Floats Sobering Option: Going Nuclear...[ha, ha]

This of course prompted the Aso government to issue a quick rejection of Japan ever going nuclear.  Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said “It is clear that nuclearization is not an option.” Kawamura told reporters “Japan’s policy has always been the three non-nuclear principles of no production, no introduction and no possession.” 

Back in Washington, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a cast of many of his former foreign policy advisers such as Shotaro Yachi (who is now advising Aso)  were making the rounds in Washington. One memorable stop was a meeting  with Vice President Joe Biden to deliver a letter from Prime Minister Aso giving support for President Obama's desire to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Abe used the meeting to remind Biden that Japan was the only nation to experience the effects of nuclear weapons. It was not lost on those present that the hint was for Obama to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki and apologize. And maybe that would also be the quid pro quo for the Emperor's visit to Pearl Harbor.

Returning to Tokyo, Abe continued on this nationalist bent (according to Observing Japan). He addressed Ichita Yamamoto's study group for "thinking about strengthening Japan's deterrent capabilities against North Korea."  Abe was decidedly supportive and emphasized that Japan needed both the technological capabilities and legal mandate to strike back  at Pyongyang. In addition, he added, these independent abilities would just strengthen the US-Japan Alliance. 

As the band members in my daughter's class, the LDP's politicians are reading the same music just with differing abilities. Being first flute, does not necessarily mean that you are good, only that you are the best they got. For now, Aso and Abe are the best the LDP got. And my daughter is first flute.

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