Next week, there will be an invitation-only, off-the-record briefing by noted Japan scholars for the nominee for the ambassadorship to Japan (there is a good possibility that John Roos will be approved by the Senate by the time of the meeting, thus making him ambassador designate).
Some, if not many, who consider themselves Japan cognizanti were not invited. They will not be happy. And the new Ambassador will not get a full picture of the Japan-interested community or Japan. The Washington Wa has been disturbed.
There are no real surprises on the speakers list other than it is heavy on the dull and light on any discussion of Japanese society, self-image, and war memory. The one difference from the similar briefing for Ambassador Tom Schiffer is that there are actually a few women among the speakers. If I recall correctly, a women got to be a moderator last time because someone complained bitterly. Did you know a few years back that there was a time when women headed the Japan Desks at State, Commerce, USTR, and the CIA?
The meeting is not open to the press and the agenda is closely held. It is better that way because you will be so disappointed to learn how pedestrian it is. The Schiffer briefing actually had a bit more pizazz, and that is not saying much. At least, this time, Mike Green is not the featured lunch speaker.
Let's hope the food is better.