Sunday, December 23, 2012

Yes, Abe Got Lucky with the South Korean Presidential Election; Still…

Sorry, Abe haters, he has a game plan. And it has things like this.

1.    Special Envoys
China: Masahiko Komura, chairman of the Japan-China Parliamentarian Friendship Association.
South Korea: Fukushiro Nukaga, secretary-general of the Japan-ROK Parliamentarian Association and former finance minister.
Russia: Yoshiro Mori, former Prime Minister.
United States: The real thing.

2.    Issues to avoid
Public servants on Senkaku Islands, Takeshima Day, comfort women.

3.    Whaat?
Nuclear weapons.

He also lucked out on Dec. 19 (Wed), when Park Geun-hye won the South Korean presidential election. Had Moon Jae-in prevailed, he would have flicked away any and all Abe overtures to the until the latter had given in on Takeshima and comfort women. (Moon also would have attempted an unconditional outreach to Kim Jong Un, an act that would have disappointed Abe…and President Obama even more.)

And he bagged the stock and currency markets (and the BOJ governor) with his 2% inflation target. And he’s not even prime minister yet. He’s either very, very good, or very, very lucky or, more likely, a little bit of both—and well prepared. I’ll suspend judgment, though, until I see how he handles TPP when he calls on President Obama when the new year dawns.


Jan Moren said...

I stand by my stance that the identity of Japanese prime minister or ruling party does not matter. The government does not have the right mix of power and responsibility to be able to govern effectively in the long run.

On the other hand, the high-level bureaucracy that does have the political upper hand is unable to form the kind of long term goals that is necessary for successful wielding of power.

Jun Okumura said...

Not fair, Jan. You come from Sweden, and the Scandinavian countries are the only ones that appear to have the ability to get it right. Other countries rise and fall on the "effectively" and "successful" scales depending on how you define them.

Jan Moren said...

But that's what mystifies me. There is no magic to "getting it right", and for most of our history we've been getting it very, very wrong indeed.

Or is it just a matter of getting it right because you've already exhausted all possible ways of getting it wrong?

Jun Okumura said...

I think that you have a point there, Jan. From here, it looks like the Scandinavians only got there because they flunked the imperialism test and lost out in Europe, Japan was saved by bowing to US military power—twice, with the four black ships and B-29s... the list goes on. There’s definitely a pattern here. The reason for this human folly? For that I turn to the title of one of Dan Ariely’s books: Predictably Irrational. I’m now reading Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow. A roundabout way, but I think that they’ll be useful as the basis for understanding the politics on this issue.

That said, the Norwegians should be commended for failing to fall prey to the Oil Curse.