Your day starts out quite nicely. It is overcast and mild in Tokyo, with showers expected later in the day. Your employer is in a relatively relaxed mood. The coffee from Doutor is not unpleasant, though you realize you really do like Starbucks better.
Then you read this:
Rumsfeld cancels Japan visit due to base row-media
October 6, 2005
TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has canceled a visit to Japan planned for later this month because of a stalemate in talks on where to relocate a U.S. military base in Japan, Japanese media reported on Thursday.
The Asahi Shimbun said plans had been made for Rumsfeld to visit Tokyo around October 21 or 22 for talks with Japanese officials including Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, part of Washington's plans to transform its military globally into a more flexible force.
But the two allies are at odds over the relocation of Futenma air base on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, a key element in redeploying the nearly 50,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in the country, media and military experts said..
Talks between senior defense officials in Washington this week ended without much progress.
No, let me rephrase that.
First indication of high probability that a mass of purest bovine excreta has been foisted upon the world: Linda Sieg's by-line is missing. I guess no one wanted wake her up to ask a few questions.
To all Reuters reporters who are not Linda Sieg (and I know there are some of you who aren't) there is something you need to know about Japanese reporters.
They tend to make stuff up.
Not in a vile, crafty "in order to promote personal agendas, to curry favor with particular individuals or to take part in conspiracies to obfuscate and undermine the public discourse" sort of way.
No, more in the "I-have-a-few-centimeters-I-have-to-fill-up-fast-if-I-am-to-make-my-deadline-and-I-overheard-some-nitwit-in-the-halls-of-the-kantei-talking-trash-so-I-will-just-plug-that-in-sourced-anonymously-and-trust-that-my-editor-does-not-flag-it" reptilian forebrain way that only an immense mortgage on an ugly house the Tama district can justify.
If we are to believe the reports, ascribed to both to the Asahi Shimbun and Kyodo news service, Donald Rumsfeld will be skipping a stop in Japan on his Asian tour because talks last week on the Futenma base relocation dispute failed to find a mutually agreeable solution to the issue, potentially casting a pall over the visit.
First, are we talking about the same Donald Rumsfeld who is sort of kind of running of two bloody anti-insurgency campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, who belittles reasonable petitioners with patronizing rephrasings of their questions and generally stomps about the planet as God's Almighty Gift to the Men and Women of the Pentagon? Are we saying he might be unable to handle the pressure of a few reporters asking about Futenma and U.S. plans for force realignment in the Far East?
Second, are we talking about the same Futenma relocation issue that has been dragging on for more than a decade through a saturnalia of commissions, studies and bi-lateral meetings, where both sides have managed to steer clear of any commitment to solving the significant political, technological, environmental and logistical problems posed by the Nago offshore base plan?
Please, please, people...if you are going to spout nonsense--or even worse repeat it verbatim--make sure that it is inspired, plausible and entertaining nonsense.