I’ve said before how stupid I think it is to make concessions before we’ve even begun to restart negotiating with Russia on the Northern Territories, especially since there is nothing to be gained from settling the dispute beyond whatever rights we get to subsidize the Russians living on those godforsaken islands. As the Aso administration unfolded and it became clear that the Prime Minister had a tendency to say out loud the first thing that popped up in his mind, I realized that the performance had been pretty much par for the course. Still, the mystery remained: Who, or what, had put that idea there in the first place? Well, now we know, it’s the former MOFA Vice-Minister, Shotaro Yachi who put the idea in his head, as this Mainichi report shows. Yachi and MOFA have issued denials regarding the Mainichi report, but it’s clear from the half-hearted nature of Yachi and MOFA’s efforts that he did say things more or less along the lines of what was reported.
What continues to astonish me is that there are people who should know better yet still think that a peace treaty with Russia by itself brings any benefits beyond the purely psychic.
It’s interesting to note that the three major political appointments that the Prime Minister has made with regard to non-politicians—the fifth and chief administrative secretary to the Prime Minister from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, and now this, the Special Envoy.