On Wednesday morning, August 15, the Hong Kong activists showed up at the Senkaku Islands as expected and were duly apprehended, together with their ship, by the Coast Guard and the Okinawa Police. The same day, the two cabinet ministers responsible for the two policing authorities—Jin Matsubara, Chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety, and Minister for the Abduction Issue, and Yuichiro Hata, Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and Minister for Ocean Policy—visited the Yasukuni Shrine to honor the soldiers who lost their lives in service of the motherland. The two cabinet ministers must have suffered heatstroke, though, because they never showed up at the office.
It is never good for a cabinet minister to be AWOL when something major breaks. It is significantly worse when everyone already knows what’s coming. The information was apparently leaked to the LDP, where a censure motion may now be in the works. Mssrs. Matsubara and Hata can compound their error by going on what would almost certainly be a futile internal witch-hunt, as politicians embarrassed by their civil servant underlings sometimes do.