POINT OF VIEW / Japan's elites need a balanced approach to U.S.Now I think that the powers that be in the GOJ are fairly aware that Democrats are again a power to be reckoned with in Washington (that little bit of symbolic legislative business involving Democratic Representative Mike Honda of California might have provided a clue). So this op-ed is not exactly breaking new ground in terms of revelations of hidden truths.
The Asahi Shimbun
Last November, as the U.S. Democratic Party was on the verge of gaining a victory in the U.S. Congress, a flurry of activity and concern developed in Tokyo.
Suddenly, many in the Japanese elite political and bureaucratic world realized that after six years of the Bush administration and Republican Congress, the Democrats would be important for them again...
I am intrigued, however, by one passage that does reveal something heretofore unknown to me:
The Fukuda government has introduced a proposal that would limit the scope of the Maritime Self-Defense Force's role to supplying fuel and water to allied ships on the high seas looking for terrorist-connected vessels. In addition, it would require the government to gain approval for an extension after one year.What? A law requiring only Cabinet approval?
In order to side-step opposition from Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), instead of requiring full Diet support for the extension, the new law would only require Cabinet approval, thus avoiding the prospect of losing in the Upper House, which Minshuto controls...
What are these two august members of the Japan Academy talking about?
Anyone heard anything about such a plan?
Honestly, I'm in the dark on this.