Monday, November 2, 2009

Assume Nothing

On Saturday afternoon, October 31, the State Department revised the Secretary of State’s weekly calendar. In the morning it read that Foreign Minister Okada would meet with the Secretary of State at 11:30 on Friday, November 6th. By afternoon, the appointment had disappeared without explanation.

According to The Cable, the meeting is off. Okada has been reined in as his expectations about the power of his personal diplomacy to America's civilian leaders may have been too great. Or he may have simply been off the reservation.

As Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said in a Monday press conference, ''The Diet must be the top priority. There should not be any trips abroad (by ministers) that could influence Diet deliberations.'' Yet, The Cable, State, and the Nelson Report all say that Secretary Clinton's schedule is still open...

Monday, November 2, at the Daily Press Briefing with Ian Kelly:

QUESTION: Do you have any information about Secretary Clinton meeting with the Japanese Foreign Minister Okada?

MR. KELLY: Well, what I do know is that the Secretary has time on Friday to meet with him, but that I think I have to refer you to the Japanese foreign ministry about the plans of Foreign Minister Okada.

QUESTION: But you can talk about the plans of Hillary Clinton. So you’re saying it’s on their side, that scheduling is --

MR. KELLY: I’m just saying you would have to – you have to talk to them about his schedule. I only know the schedule of my Secretary.

QUESTION: Well, does she plan to meet him?

MR. KELLY: She’s ready to meet with him.

QUESTION: Is he going to meet with him?

MR. KELLY: That’s up to the Japanese foreign minister to – up to the foreign ministry to decide.

QUESTION: You’re suggesting that the Japanese foreign minister is snubbing the Secretary?

MR. KELLY: No, I’m not saying that at all.

QUESTION: What are you saying, then?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think one thing I’ll say is that when we put out a week ahead schedule, it is intended be for planning and not for publication.

LATER: Foreign Minister Okada cancels his plans to visit the U.S. Hatoyama reminds him who is in charge. Asst. Secretary of State for East Asia Kurt Campbell will be in Tokyo on Thursday.

1 comment:

  1. "The Diet must be the top priority. There should not be any trips abroad (by ministers) that could influence Diet deliberations."

    If you've been watching the debates in the Diet (the first time since perhaps 2003 that they have been interesting), particularly the budget committee, where Ishiba is laying into Okada, this is not as far-fetched as it seems.


If I am unamused, your comment will not be posted.