Friday, November 24, 2006


Does anyone understand how these persons were chosen to discuss what it is they are purported to be discussing?

Courtesy: Yahoo Japan News

Japan needs a more robust advisory body on national security at the prime minister's left elbow. However, membership in such a body cannot be just a reward for past glories and recent episodes of multiple aggravations of top bureaucrats.

An example of what I am talking about?

While not the most egregious appointment by any means, I cannot imagine what Sassa Atsuyuki will be bringing to this power conference. I love Sassa-sensei as much as anybody (How could people not think you the bees knees after all the accolades, not the least which is having Yakusho Kōji play you in a motion picture?).

Sassa-sensei, however, has been outside the mainline the security apparat for two decades. The years, furthermore, have also not been kind to him: he struggles to get around with a cane. Advising the prime minister on national security and steering him away from really dumb ideas of some of the panel's more irrepressible hawks will require tremendous reserves of energy--particularly with this Prime Minister, who is as slippery as an elver.

I just do not see that fire in Sassa-sensei anymore, nor in Ishihara Nobuo either.

However, what we have here may be only another example of Abe's love of showy commissions with numbing non-mandates.

See if you can spot the subtle lack of connection between the first and second paragraphs of yesterday's Yomiuri editorial:

Creating 'Japanese NSC' requires Abe to take lead
The Yomiuri Shimbun

China's growing military power, North Korea's nuclear test and other factors have drastically altered the security environment surrounding Japan, making it extremely important for this country to create a unified organ within the government that can pursue a strategic security policy and deal with a national emergency.

An advisory panel chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was launched Wednesday to enhance the functions of the Prime Minister's Office concerning national security.

When Japan is challenged by looming immediate threats, threats demanding the establishment of an advisory body coordinating the various parts of the government charged with the maintenance of Japan's security--wouldn't a person of normal intellect establish that advisory body?

However, from the account above, the new advisory body on Japanese National Security is not that body.

Instead the new advisory body on national security policy is considering the establishment of a future National Security Council, one which they hope will replace the existing National Security Council, which has proven to be no more than rubber stamp (I'm quoting Yomiuri here) of decisions made elsewhere.

Has no one been thinking about the nuts and bolts of the upgraded "Japanese NSC"--so that all we get now is a group considering the options?

Finally, this week's winner of the Bonehead of Obliviousness Award goes to the author(s) of the op-ed, for this stunning bit of insight.

Sectionalism ties govt's hands

Both the Foreign Ministry and the Defense Agency have been unwilling to help the Prime Minister's Office strengthen its authority over foreign and security affairs, apparently worried that their authorities in these fields could be undermined.

Oh, have they, "apparently"?


* = "Yet Another Right Wing Icon Employment Vanity Project"

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