Saturday, January 26, 2013

Counterfactual: What If the LDP Had Been in Power When the Senkaku Islands Issue Blew Up in 2012?

I prefer the counterfactual as science fiction (e.g. The Difference Engine), not analysis, and I ask the following to be taken in that vein.

Chinese ships and aircraft are now all over the air and sea space around the Senkaku Islands and the Japanese authorities, Shinzo Abe or no Shinzo Abe, cannot do much to enforce exclusive control over them since they are loathe to make any physically aggressive moves. Effective control has been ratcheted down, there’s no question of that. And there’s no question that Governor Shintaro Ishihara’s attempt to buy the islands triggered the geopolitical avalanche, Chinese aggression and all.

Imagine, though, if the LDP had been in power through all of this. Is there any chance that Governor Ishihara would have tried to embarrass the national government, given his two sons in LDP national politics and his viscerally protective nature in favor of himself, his family, and friends, most likely in that order?

So yes, the events would most likely have unfolded very differently under an LDP regime…but not for the reason—the (temporary) damage that Prime Minister Hatoyama caused to the Japan-US alliance—that the LDP and conservatives in general like to allege.

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