Wednesday, September 28, 2005

But they would say that, wouldn't they?

As you can see here the editors of the Asahi Shimbun did not very much like prime minister Koizumi's policy speech. Surprise, surprise.

Clearly baffled by Koizumi's unwillingness to meet their standards of policy specificity, the editors have fallen back on ascribing the broad-brush policy address to a "May slump," the purported lethargy that grips new company recruits in their second month on the job. Unfortunately for the metaphor prime minister Koizumi, as he points out in the speech, has been elected three times to the prime ministership, having been in the job since 2001.

A bit of a delayed reaction, to put it mildly.

Since the Asahi editors found the foreign policy section particularly wanting, perhaps they need it retranslated.

The fight against terrorism is not over. Japan will cooperate with the international community and strive for the prevention and eradication of terrorism by, among other measures, extending the deadline of the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law.

In Iraq, the Iraqi people themselves are making efforts to establish a peaceful democratic nation. Japan's financial assistance through ODA as well as humanitarian and reconstruction assistance activities extended by the Self-Defense Forces have earned high praise from the people in Iraq. As to the future activities of the Self-Defense Forces, I will make my decision taking into consideration the requests of the Iraqi people and the international situation and upon closely assessing the situation in Iraq.

Technically, the legal conditions and constraints under which the SDF have been operating in Iraq and the Indian Ocean are unchanged. The bills my party will be presenting to the Diet will be extensions or reorientations of the existing missions, not plans for withdrawal. So go stuff it.

With neighboring countries including China and the Republic of Korea, Japan will strengthen cooperation in a wide range of areas and build future-oriented friendly relations based on mutual understanding and trust. On Japan-North Korea relations, I will aim to normalize our relations by comprehensively resolving the abduction, nuclear and missile issues.

I am sick and tired of Sino-South Korean insistence that relations be carried out "looking into the mirror of the past." However, I will be damned if I am going normalize relations with the DPRK without a more tangible show of contrition on its part for past trangressions.

Regarding the sharp rise in crude oil prices, there is concern that this will have a significant impact not only on Japan, one of the world's major oil importers, but also on Southeast Asian countries. In response, Japan swiftly released its oil reserves, and through such measures, is contributing to the international community. In order to prevent the occurrence of another oil crisis, we will continue to cooperate closely with other countries.

Look, we have offered to show you how we achieved the lowest energy-use per unit of GDP in the world, but up until now you have ignored us. Now we are going to bail you out with some of the petroleum we have stockpiled. Only this time you bloody well better listen to us.

Japan will also actively advance its initiatives for bilateral economic partnership and work tirelessly toward reaching a final agreement at the new round of the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations.

I did not say "also" in the original speech. Why did my Japanese-to-English translator put "also" here? It drains all the energy out of the sentence. I want to emphasize the "and" (to tomo ni). My administration will pursue both bi-lateral FTAs and a multilateral post-Uruguay Round with equal fervor.

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