Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Taro Aso, Fellow Traveler?

Described by one nationalist blogger as a bunch of “parliamentarians who are selling out Japan to North Korea (kitachousen he no baikoku giin)”, the LDP Subcommittee on the Korean Peninsula Issue (Jiyuuminshutou Chousen Hantou Mondai Syouiinkai)was created under the aegis of its Supreme Advisor (Saikou Komon), the most peaceable Taku Yamazaki, during the Fukuda administration last year, and is dedicated to normalizing relations with North Korea. With such impeccable pacifist credentials, the 20-member subcommittee includes notable left-wingers such as Hiroyuki Hosoda, Akira Sasagawa, and Takeo Kawamura. Mr. Kawamura is adding insult to injury by lobbying to give gaijin—read Korean permanent residents—the vote in local elections. Really, just the kind of people Taro Aso… hates… to keep… out of his administration?
Hiroyuki Hosoda, Secretary-General (one of the Big Four LDP; deputy to LDP President)
Akira Sasagawa, Chairman, General Council (one of the Big Four; Mr. Sasagawa is the incumbent)
Takeo Kawamura, Chief Cabinet Secretary (think, White House chief of staff during the Reagan administration)
Makoto Koga, another notable dove—he blames the Class-A war criminals for making him an orphan—is also being kept on as elections czar, the fourth and newest member of the Big Four.
Talk about Manchurian Candidates—who knew that the new Prime Minister was a crypto-commie? At least news reports have skinflint Kaoru Yosano staying on as Economics Minister to strike a blow for old-fashioned, fiscal conservatism. (What?)

News reports have the loquacious Kunio Hatoyama joining the Cabinet as well. Enjoy. News reports also have the dyspeptic Shoichi Nakagawa joining the Cabinet… Not so enjoy.

Okay, enough of the serious stuff; let’s get silly and make a really stupid statement: For better or worse, there’s more to Taro Aso than the manga-loving, right-wingnut, cardboard-cutout caricature that Western liberals love to haul out every time they are forced to talk about him. Yes, I feel your pain.

Another point: There are practical reasons for Mr. Kawamura and Mr. Hosoda to be nice to Koreans (and Chinese). Likewise, I venture to say, for Mr. Koga… and also Mr. Aso. I would even add Mr. Sasagawa to this mix, but for somewhat different, more speculative reasons. Can you guess why?

And finally, for great overview of the big picture, read this. Yes, it's The Economist. A couple of caveats:
Socialists and Communists also form part of the DPJ’ s ragbag alliance. The Communists? That’s a hard call, but I wouldn’t quite put them in an “alliance”… I’ve got it, fellow travelers!

The DPJ’s proposals for paying for this are not credible, but while the opposition is on the attack, that hardly matters. Yes, but nobody’s supposed to win a championship without defense, right? Either way, we’ll know in a month or a two.

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