Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Washington Post solves Futenma

Having campaigned against the corruption of 50 years of rule by the Liberal Democratic Party, Mr. Hatoyama also has been dogged by his own fundraising scandal. Polls show his approval rating has fallen from more than 70 percent to less than 50 percent in just three months. Like the Japanese public, the Obama administration has not concealed its exasperation. The president and other senior officials visiting the country have repeatedly called for an "expedited" resolution to the base dispute. Washington Post editorial

Having been on vacation, I somehow missed the unconcealed exasperation of the Japanese public. Is it because of the Futenma issue? I even wonder just how exasperated the Obama administration is since:

"People tend towards the hyperbolic because that makes for more interesting cocktail conversation and better stories. I wouldn't exaggerate things," one administration official close to the issue told The Cable.

I have to admit that I don't understand the point of the Post editorial---it reads like an editorial in the Japanese press except the schoolmarmish tone of "must" and "must not" is missing. I think it means that even though Obama and the Japanese public are exasperated to tears with the wildly unpredictable Hatoyama, the Futenma issue should not be allowed to damage the alliance to the point where the smaller coalition parties get their wish and kick all US troops out of Japan. This, of course, is a real danger right up there with the alien invasion threat. Then there is the threat posed by folks like Ozawa who go to China and work on improving ties instead of staying in Japan and visiting Yasukuni like the Old Schoolers. But the key point is in the last sentence--something which no other person on earth has thought of:

Japan's nascent two-party system is a democratic achievement, not a diplomatic nuisance; give it a little time to find its course. (Washington Post)

We need a kinder, gentler Obama. This is why I read the Post.

Tweaked slightly at 1058


  1. They all think Futenma is to blame for Hatoyama's slip in the polls. Isn't it more that the promised motorway toll breaks and free cash for kiddies programmes were nixed? Like, whatever.

  2. Isn't this Futenma stuff exciting though?