Richard Lloyd Perry takes the backdoor out of the Toyako Summit to visit a slice of real Hokkaidō -- and somehow does not come away charmed at the bucolic scene.
Okumura Jun unpeals the special budget for the government's urgent policy priorities and in the center finds ... nothing much.
In a nice segueway from Okumura-san's discussion of budgetary hocus-pocus, Ambassador Thomas Schieffer (whom I met last month and who turns out to be a knowledgeable, humble and politically astute individual--demonstrating yet again the danger of accepting popular media tropes) homes in upon the unreal vacuum at the center of the debate about Japan's potential for becoming a "normal nation," much less a permanent member of the Security Council: what it costs to be a politico-military heavyweight.
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