Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pre-election political analysis

While some make their political predictions and analysis based on years of experience and research, I find that it is much better to use tangible things to get a feel of the mood and then make my unerringly accurate predictions in the 24-48 hours following the election.

Over the last few days, I have been conducting surveys of political posters in the Denechofu/Okusawa/Jiyugaoka areas which should give an accurate overview of the situation in the entire country. You know, sorta like those land-line telephone surveys of 621 people in a nation of 127+ million.

The New Komeito is relying on its reputation of cleanliness to attract voters:

The Commies are po'd about the US, Futenma, and nukes or something as they always have been. Should they ever come to power, one suspects that they might modify their position a bit, but there is no guarantee. The party that seems to have survived in large part due to the fact that it was the most opposite of the LDP hasn't had a new idea since Marx was a child.

The LDP wants to give Japan the finger yet again, but having entirely lost any competence they once had cannot even figure out the correct finger to use. Instead, some fellow named Tanigaki went berserk at the DPJ and Kan for suggesting that it might have been close to right about the consumption tax. The LDP is offended by the suggestion that any of its ideas might be correct. After all, what would happen if by some miracle the party did not continue to sink into the cesspool of irrelevance, but got back into power and had to do what it would not have proposed had it still been in power?

And the DPJ. I must admit a bias toward this party as I cannot see any of the others as anything but a bunch of goofballs. Perhaps that's why I am not even allowed to vote on local elections. Anyway, the DPJ poster below featuring Kan is short, sweet, and to the point.

Perhaps too short and sweet and that's why this fellow is pondering it. Maybe he is wondering about the DPJ's tax plans---you know, to lower corporate taxes so that Japanese companies won't flee Japan to areas of lower taxes while Japan receives increased revenue from the lowered corporate tax rate (it worked well in the US didn't it?). Perhaps he is wondering about DPJ Secretary General Yukio Edano's rather interesting, maybe controversial, and possibly insane claim that previous increases in the consumption tax had minimal repercussions on demand (Hmmm. What happened in 1997/98? No connection? Minimal?), and Edano's claim that it would not "accelerate" deflation. Deflation would like, what, stay at the present level. Oh, that's good!

He could be wondering how people would just calmly accept a 5% increase in the tax and not reduce spending. He could be asking himself that should that be proven to be inaccurate, is it at all possible that producers would react by reducing prices to offset the tax increase. What's the phrase he may be thinking of? Is it Voodoo Economics? (Edited to add: Not to be confused with the US version, but a homegrown voodoo economics.)

Or maybe he is ruminating on the meaning of Edano's translated statement that the DPJ "was debating whether to implement tax refunds for low-income families, and said such plans will be further discussed after the Upper House election. "* It may have entered his mind that if the DPJ decides not to address the recessiveness** of the consumption tax after the Upper House election, that it is in effect saying of the poor, "let them eat cake---but only after they pay the 10% tax."

*Emphasis mine. Edano quoted from "exclusive" JT interview (linked ).

**Google spell-check refuses to recognize recessiveness as a word. If it is not a real word, please pretend that it is not really written above.

Related: Economics prof. Hisakazu Kato of Meiji University doubts 10% consumption tax will ultimately be enough, but: "I think it would be much riskier than raising the consumption tax to do nothing about reducing the debt and possibly causing an excessive reaction in the market that would lead to a plunge in government bond prices," Japan Times.

Eddie O.

How interesting to find that there is a new biography out about Edwin Reischauer, the Japan and Asia scholar, who later became U.S. ambassador to Japan. Some cynical s.o.b.s have been known to claim that he forget which country he represented.

The new bio, written by George R. Packard---a fellow whose name rang a bell, but I had to google to be sure---is president of the US-Japan Foundation and a former Reischauer assistant. The US-Japan Foundation may also ring a bell. Especially to those foolish, mistaken revisionists who were so sacrilegious as to challenge the Reischauer view of Japan.

In Jeff King's Japan Times review, he points out that Reischauer remains a controversial figure among scholars. I ain't no scholar, but what surprises me about is that Reischauer is still relevant enough to be controversial.

According to King, Reischauer (and apparently Packard) dismisses most of the "revisionist's" because they were closer to correct than him and Reischauer as far as trade, economic issues and Hirohito are concerned because they were "opportunistic journalists out to take advantage of trade issues." (Anyone remember any of the explanations Reischauer originally gave us about 1980s era Japanese trade policies? He later admitted that maybe, just maybe, there could have been something to US complaints other than cultural misunderstandings.)

When I was in university in the late 80s, Reischauer was still very influential in the field. I especially recall his book The Japanese since it is the one which later solidified my opinion of him as a sugar-coater. I understand his reasons---he was trying to repair the WW2 damage to the US-Japan relationship, and introduce Japan to the US (mainly) as something other than a weird country and people that cannot be understood. Reading through that book, one cannot often say that he is entirely wrong or misleading on most points, but something isn't right. Everything was given what appeared to me to be a heavy coat of sugar to play down any less than attractive aspects of Japan. Even though I had had some professors who very aggressively questioned Reischauer's view of Japan, I didn't really grasp it until I first lived and worked here in the early nineties. To accept what Reischauer wrote, and then to come to Japan and see what it really was without a change of mind would require one to assume that yes, Japan is inscrutable, it is something that foreigners can never grasp; it must be some sort of Zen koan, for it seems almost nothing like Eddie wrote in his book.

Despite that, I have a fascination with the man. I have probably read most of his books and I will spend 33 plus bucks on a book about him which I am guessing will be a sugar-coating of Reischauer. If I can escape the Google disease and actually read the whole book in less than a month, I am kinda curious to see what difference having spent the last 10-plus consecutive years in Japan might make in my opinion.

Related: Reviewing Revisionism: Judging a Legacy of an era of U.S.-Japan Acrimony. The Asia Foundation. Had it not been for the revisionists that Reischauer (and Packard) dismissed, would things have been better? From 2000.

Edited: Removed reference to Reischauer and US aiding LDP until I verify my memory and find links. He was influential in ultimately ending the US subsidy for the LDP.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Let a hundred flowers bloom

I always enjoy it when someone from the right-wing (I do not mean merely conservative as it is often used in the US*) expresses their views and thoughts in a public forum. I especially love it when they do so in English for it is important for people to know these thoughts and opinions. It is especially valuable for those people in the US as we need to know who our friends are.

Recently, I was fortunate have had an opportunity to read the comments of an anonymous commenter here, who if not a member of the far (?) right is certainly a convincing actor able to explain exactly why Japan cannot build a relationship with China, and who even had something nice to say about the people of the US. Now I get it.

*Not that we don't have a right wing there.

Edited to add: Oh, good grief. Should I explain the post heading? I use it in the sense of allowing folks to come out and freely express their opinion so that we know may who our friends are. And aren't.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The rightwingers may have failed in their attempt to censor what people can see. Imagine how much nuttier this will drive that small, but noisy minority:

The cancellations [of the movie, The Cove in theaters around Japan] prompted a group of Japanese journalists, academics and film directors to sign a letter urging the theaters not to back down, saying the issue "underlines the weakness of freedom of speech in Japan."AP

Thank goodness that not all journalists think like Takeharu Watai. And thank goodness that folks who signed that letter (and those who support them) showed what a fool I was to write: Perhaps foreigners are less easily deterred by the threats of thugs.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

In reference to the post below, Kan has stated that he wants to make the regressive consumption tax more progressive by lowering it for certain items.

June 21: Japan Times article in English here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Creatively moving away from an export dependent economy

Having become entirely befuddled about things economic (does that make me an economist? Just joking!), I am a bit confused about PM Kan's plan to revitalize Japan. He plans to increase the consumption tax, double it actually, to the LDP recommended level of 10%. However, to show that he is no tax-and-spend lefty, he plans to cut the corporate tax first. Additionally, the DPJ has said that it was necessary to increase domestic consumption to get away from the old ship-everything-including-unemployment-elsewhere ways of the past.

Of course there is a lot of support for a consumption tax increase in Japan. Just ask around (might avoid asking housewives, but then again, this ain't 1989). I hear it all the time, sort of a knee-jerk reaction to everything. Raise the consumption tax. You might want to avoid follow-up questions as to what that will do to consumption and possible effects, good or bad, on the economy or anything along those lines for you'll quickly learn that Econ 101 was not something taken very seriously in school. (Perhaps they missed a key class due to the screening of a controversial film).

There is no doubt that a real tax increase has to come, but I wonder why only the regressive consumption tax is given serious consideration. Who actually believes that consumption will not take at least a serious short-term hit from a doubling of the rate? Could we not have an income tax increase? How about some well thought out combination of the two?

This could be Kan's version of the fabled Third Way. Or a new form of Trickle-down. Not sure which. If the corporations which got the tax cut (we've all heard ad nauseum how Japanese corporations are taxed at a higher rate than the US and others---no doubt a bad thing) then use part of the tax savings to hire new employees in Japan and not shift production overseas, then those new workers will have a salary and probably won't mind paying more to consume the same and even more to consume more! In that way, domestic consumption will increase, more people will have jobs, dependency on exports will decrease, and we'll live happily ever after.

In reality, the aim of this policy has more to do with cutting Japan's debt than increasing domestic consumption. I am glad to see that someone is actually addressing the issue instead of making noises of how debt doesn't really matter since it is owned domestically. I await the details of cost-cutting measures, but right now, it smells of the support of large corporations over citizens (subjects?) that has gone on for decades.*

4:52 pm: Edited for slight corrections and an addition.

*The Tokyo Foundation, a Tokyo based think tank, has a piece on the need to lower the corporate tax rate here. Thanks to Sigma1 for the link.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Censorship fails a little

Perhaps foreigners are less easily deterred by the threats of thugs.

The Cove will be shown online in Japan, according to Reuters. The first 2,000 viewers will be able to see it free. How will the loony-birds fight that?

I might have given it a pass until the nutjobs got going, but now I wanna see it too.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Japanese university worries about classes!

In a stunning new development in Japanese higher education, a Japanese university---where most go for a four-year vacation before joining the drudgery of the salaryman life---has suddenly become concerned about its classes!

Tokyo's Meiji U. has pulled the plug on an on-campus screening of "The Cove" that was to have been followed by a Q and A with pic advisor and dolphin activist Ric O'Barry.

University officials said they feared Thursday's screening would interfere with classes. Variety

Perhaps students who might go to the screening and the following discussion would compare that to the content of the lecture they face should they for some reason actually attend a class. Or it might cause them to get too stimulated to sleep in said class.

Ahh, what the hell. They're all the same anyway.

You'd expect more from a congressman, but that would mean that you are a fool.

During BP hearings in the US Congress, Louisiana Congressman Joseph Cao made the observation: the Asian culture we do things differently. During the Samurai days, we just give you a knife and ask you to commit harakiri." CBS

Rep. Cao is Vietnamese-American.

Cao further explains how "Asian culture" works here.

(The post heading is meant to be sarcastic, not a statement of personal beliefs. I shouldn't have to add that, but experience tells me that I must.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Speaking of headlines

In Yokohama, a 15-year old girl was stabbed by a classmate today and taken to the hospital with a serious wound. The classmate has been arrested for attempted murder. Asahi Shimbun (In Japanese and sure to disappear soon as all Japanese language articles do from Asahi.)

The world's worst headline

Honda-driven Japan motors past Cameroon in World Cup opener

Japan Times via Kyodo News Service

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Who let the dogs out?

The Denenchofu/Okusawa areas of Tokyo are generally kept pretty clean. Garbage is taken away regularly and efficiently and people usually clean up their doggy doodoo. Occasionally though, one can step in a pile of smelly dog crap that someone missed, as I almost did today.

The Kokuminshinto, aka the People's New Party, an insignificant bunch led by the fellow who went got mad and resigned his cabinet post after 3 days on Friday, has put up new campaign posters emphasizing why the country needs watchdogs like the PNP and alpha male Shizuka Kamei. It's to protect the country by opposing permanent resident "foreigner" suffrage in local elections---naturally this would include PR of Korean descent---and to protect families from the damage that would occur should married couples be allowed to keep their separate surnames. (Non-Japanese and mixed couples may keep their family names when hitched, but they don't count anyway.) Alberto Fujimori, although originally a foreign dictator* who was later put in the hoosegow for killin' and stealin,' once ran as a member of the PNP while under house arrest in Chile. Alberto, a buddy of Blinky Ishihara, had been hanging out in Japan for a number of years prior to being arrested in Chile.

They are recruiting volunteers should anyone be interested. Phone number is on the blue poster. Can't see it? 03-3239-454X. I shan't post the last number, but anyone who could add 1+4 could figure it out. The e-mail address is on the poster too, should you prefer a more modern method.

Edited: For corrections/clarifications and a few additions, not the least of which is the sexy alpha male's mugshot. By the way, need I mention Kamei and his party want to roll back postal reforms?
Sic 'im Shizuka-chan!

*Dictator is too strong. He was merely an authoritarian president who was later convicted of various human rights abuses and other crimes. Wikipedia notes that, ironically, "there is no law banning participation in an election by someone under house arrest in a foreign country" in Japan. (Kamei conveyed Fujimori's "original campaign statements.") I guess that's much safer than allowing non-Japanese permanent residents to vote in local elections.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Was going to write something about this, but Thomas Dillon at the Japan Times beat me to it. He's a bit too kind in his assessment.

You don't really walk with your feet here. You walk with your ears. For sharp hearing will alert the careful pedestrian as to what lies around the bend...

...Pedestrians do not squeal. Most of them anyway. So ears are of no help. To avoid being bumped or cut off you have to rely on your eyes.

But much of the pedestrian horde appears to be blind. Or only focused on their own destinations. Many march on impervious to the fact that between them and their goals walk other people.

We refer to this behavior as "group harmony" or "good manners" or something like that. And, Good Lord, we haven't even considered the negligent homicide-inclined mama-chari-ist cum (recently) road cyclist.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Futenma becomes interesting

Or at least the issues connected with it do.

For a serious discussion on the U.S.-Japan "alliance" it would be worthwhile---if the whole world has not already done so---to read this June 9 post at Shisaku and download the PDF and read it. Essays include:
  • Troubled Alliance by Kenneth B. Pyle
  • Return to Basics: Recalibrating the US-Japan Security Alliance by Michael Finnegan
  • Redefining the US-Japan Security Alliance by Michael Green
  • Alliance Endangered by Kent Calder
  • The 50th Anniversary: Time for a "Renewal of Vows" by Andrew Oros
  • A Short-term challenge to the US-Japan Security Alliance Putting its Long-term Heath at Risk by Yuki Tatsumi
Some of the authors should be familiar enough for us to know that they aren't taking the R. Taggart Murphy (below) point of view.

With Friends Like Us

the title of a new article by R. Taggart Murphy in The New Republic.

Having tied their fortunes so tightly to the United States—or, more generously, having had them tied by history and circumstance—Japan's power-holders in the LDP and the bureaucracy, in business, finance, media, and academia have, since the 1950s, built an elaborate and sophisticated infrastructure of relationships and institutions in the United States capable of detecting and acting on the most subtle shifts in American opinion where Japan is concerned—and, when necessary, influencing it...

...But until last August, these “agents of influence,” as the title of a controversial book on the subject put it, were deployed to achieve Japanese government objectives. Now they were brought out to undermine them. Any American seen able to influence Washington's Japan policy was fed a predictable line: Hatoyama was “weak and vacillating,” the DPJ was filled with “amateurs,” and, most damning, Ozawa was “anti-American.” The New Republic.

Murphy writes that Okinawa has "now been radicalized" and that the only way the agreement can be implemented is by "brute force." Should he be right, Kan (and ultimately, Obama) is in for a huge surprise. There is no way that he can fulfill his supposed promise to Obama to implement it.

8:50: Edited

Freelance journalist Takeharu Watai has a problem

Ironically, on the day that Japan was awarded the number 3 spot on the Global Peace Index (previous post) based partly on "High levels of freedom of information," the controversy raised by the cancellation of the showing of The Cove made the Japan Times again.

In the report, it appears that at least one rightist wanted the movie to be shown. His opinion was countered by a defender of freedom, a man in a profession in which one would assume would demand "high levels of freedom of information," freelance journalist (meaning under/unemployed?)
Takeharu Watai said:

freedom of expression should be observed in monitoring the government and other authorities, but he has a problem with inflicting freedom of expression on Taiji's fishermen, indirectly criticizing the movie crew's filming methods. Japan Times

One cannot properly respond to that without inflicting some rather vulgar freedom of expression on Watai's opinion.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Japan as #3: the benefits of hiring out national defense

Japan has come in as number 3 on the totally reliable, accurate, and based in reality Global Peace Index.

This rigorous scientific survey measures such things as such as "conflicts with foreign countries, numbers of murder cases, risks of terrorism, the level of respect for human rights and military expenditures." Japan Times

There are a total of 23 areas evaluated. I am not sure if one criteria would be: "Said country should have a lop-sided---or one-sided---"security treaty"
which is somewhat weirdly referred to as an "alliance" with the country with the world's most powerful military. That would help in the area of reduced military expenditures, conflicts with foreign countries, and possibly the risk of terrorism, and it might have been enough to propel Japan ahead of warmongering #7 Luxembourg. I wonder, is the US penalized for providing personal and arms for the military security of Japan? A read of the Results and Methodology PDF at GPI's site might lead one to think so. No mention of the US military role in Japan's defense.

Would other criteria be: Does said country respect the human rights* of those of different ethnic/racial/national backgrounds? Has said country signed the Hague Convention Treaty on International Child Abductions? Not sure how those would affect the level of respect for human rights. Perhaps Japan improved four notches because we don't hear right-wingers in the government nor Hobbesian Bushidoists like Fujiwara Masahiko railing against too many human rights as much as we did a few years ago under the LDP.

A check of the GPI website shows a few other interesting tidbits which makes one wonder if the creators of The Onion are not behind this whole thing**. The main findings show that the most peaceful societies contain the following attributes in addition to the above:
  • A well-functioning government
  • High levels of freedom of information
  • Good relations with neighboring states (We can see why Japan has improved in this area compared to the Koizumi/Abe eras.)
  • Acceptance of others
(A a partial list from page 1 of the 2010 GPI Fact Sheet PDF available at the site.)

The lack of a refugee population also seems to raise the peace index of a country. Very helpful for a country like Japan that allows almost no refugees in.

A number of famous people have signed on as "Endorsers" of the GPI agreeing that: ..."without a world that is basically peaceful, it will be exceedingly difficult to solve many of the intractable problems facing humanity today." How insightful is that?

*The Results and Methodology PDF at the site uses "Levels of disrespect for human right (Political Terror Scale)" using a definition by Amnesty International/ and US Department County Reports (sic) and also refers to "Respect for Human Rights."

**It's actually
The Economist trying to measure the ultimately unmeasurable. The folks at The Onion would have more sense.

Edited several times as author cannot write, spell, or proofread because he is from the US. He also added a few items that he thought was relevant.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Groundhog Day

Years ago, there was a frustrating movie called Groundhog Day about a guy played by Bill Murray who was stuck experiencing the same things over and over, day after day. Just like we are doing now.

About 60 percent of voters surveyed have expressed positive expectations for incoming Prime Minister Naoto Kan, two major dailies said Sunday, releasing the results of opinion polls they conducted recently. Japan Times

It's kinda hard not to have positive expectations for Kan as nobody can expect a quicker fall than Hatoyama's. It ain't too encouraging that Kan has been reported to have informed the Obama administration* that he would make "strenuous efforts" on still-not-implemented Futenma agreement---whatever strenuous efforts turns out to mean.

In an arguably more democratic country and a seemingly more participatory democracy than existed under the LDP, one has to wonder exactly how he is going to do that and satisfy those on Okinawa who want nothing to do with the agreement. Is he ultimately going to just run it through like the LDP did in the past over the objections of Okinawans? I'd wager that he ain't going to get any flexibility from the US.

Once again, Japanese politics will be more interesting than frustrating. Then, not all that far in the future Japanese politics will once again become more frustrating than interesting. Then....well, we know the drill.

*ABC (US) reported that: "This is a bilateral accord, and therefore decisions will be based on the accord," Kan said today. "As indicated in the bilateral agreement, there will be emphasis on alleviating the load on the Okinawans. This is a priority of concern and this is an issue that is extremely important."

Xuihan reported:

Kan said that he will strive to fulfill the Japan-U.S. pact on the relocation of the U.S. Marine Futenma base within Okinawa Prefecture.

"I want to make strenuous efforts" on the relocation of the base, Kan was quoted as saying.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Yukio Departs

Sorry, had to remove the video as it automatically played with sound whenever the page was loaded. Suddenly and unexpectedly hearing a space shuttle blast off with one's speakers at full volume is not pleasant. A link to the video---which really has nothing directly to do with Hatoyama---is here.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

I spent a lot of the day reading about the resignation of Yukio Hatoyama and various opinions of whose fault it was:

1) Hatoyama's. He should have handled Futenma and the US better, plus he got money from his mother instead of some half-crooked company.

2) The US: Parts of the US gov't were confused and worried about the DPJ's attempt to move Japan .0001mm away on security issues which would have destroyed the most-important-bilateral-relationship-in-the-world-bar-none, as well as have resulted in the collapse of human civilization. These expert managers wanted the policies of their old and trusted Freedom-Fighters in the LDP to continue forever.

3) Nobel Laureate Barack Obama, who was not up to speed on the most-important-bilateral-relationship-in-the-world-bar-none, and whose meaning of the word "change" as far as Japan policy goes appears to have been restricted to "(ex)change George Bush for me." Nobel-man Obama has been a little tied up lately anyway, since he shockingly discovered that the company that was responsible for a major environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was not as responsible as it could have been at stopping it. He is now making angry faces, clenching his jaw, and has become so outraged as to have uttered the stinging expletive "damn."

4) The MSM: Goes without saying. The media is always responsible for everything everywhere.

5) The citizens of this fine land themselves, the least likely culprits.

6) All of the above.

I must rule out "all of the above," even though it seems reasonable. I must rule it out for I read somewhere on the Internet that if we say that, it means everyone is guilty and if we say everyone is guilty it means that no one is guilty. Perhaps due to cultural differences, I am unable to figure out exactly how that works or what it means, so I will focus on the group that has received the least attention: The folks of Japan.

I am not so sure how important the Futenma issue really was to anyone in the mainland. There are polls around that show that most Japanese wanted the Futenma mess solved by relocating the base outside Okinawa, but nobody seems to want those bases, with their lower-than-the-average-compared-to-Japanese-citizens crime rates, near their homes. They simply want and expect the US to defend Japan until hell freezes over because that's the way things have always been, and to do so under "tightened discipline" (perhaps chained to a table when off-duty) at a distance. Besides, Japan is a peace country and Japanese should not have to fight a war for Japan should one come.* And some have called Hatoyama indecisive and loopy**.

I am looking at this from the perspective that citizens of a democracy are over the long term, allowing for normal miscalculations***, voting for politicians and policies that they agree with. So I figure that after 65 years of democracy [Edited: We can't call the Occupation era democracy. Let's say 50-odd years] when folks keep electing politicians who continue the same policies, that they are voting for what they really want. I don't recall Futenma or the so-called alliance**** being a major issue during the election last fall, so I'd guess most outside of Okinawa did not especially object to the status quo. In the US we want low/no taxes, free government programs, wars fought mostly by lesser-well-off citizens and paid for by foreigners. In Japan, we want the US to provide a military and a foreign policy cover and to have little contact with the troops unless we can pawn them off on a poorer prefecture inhabited by Okinawans.

The good thing is, according to some theories, the US may not get what it wants now as there might be some reluctance on the part of the government to follow through on the Henko move. Okinawans ain't gonna just give in because Hatoyama is gone. And Naoto Kan is said to be sort of stubborn. He is also said to be more "practical" in foreign policy, which I take to mean more likely to do what Uncle Sam wants. But maybe, just maybe, this will get folks to think a little more deeply about this "alliance." It obviously isn't going to come from the US side without a swift kick.

*I don't get a chance to ask Japanese acquaintances this as often as I would like. In fact, I think I have only asked it once: If there is a war and an American soldier is killed fighting for Japan, what would you say to the mother and father of that soldier when they ask you "Why did my son (or daughter) die fighting for Japan?"

**I am using the Washington Post's Al Kamen's definition of loopy: "...oddly detached from reality."

***See G.W. Bush, the man who accepted Abe's "apology" about the Japanese Imperial Army's forced recruitment of sex slaves in WW2 which Abe claimed never really happened, but apologized for in spite of the fact that he claimed it never happened and had been claiming for years that it never happened. Sorry, I didn't understand it either. Ask Boy George or Abe.

****Describing the relationship as an alliance was first done in a communique when PM Suzuki visited the White House in 1981 and it was not well-received in Japan. The phrase US-Japan Alliance was not used in an official document until 1995. See AMPO's Troubled 50th: Hatoyama's aborted rebellion, Okinawa's Mounting Resistance and the US Japan Relationship. (Under Treaty? Alliance? about 1/3 down the page.)