Today's the day when the heretofore Delphic Oracle of Nagata-cho, Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko, makes his "political decision" regarding Japan's participation in Trans-Pacific Partnership talks. I say the odds are still 50-50, despite the intellectual firepower that has been deployed in favor of participation. On the ground and over the airwaves, the actions of pro-TPP forces have been pathetic in their flaccidity, whilst the anti-TPP forces have marched unimpeded into the public consciousness.
With the DPJ neatly divided in two, the public (according to the latest polls) showing only a fractional majority in favor of participation and not just the opposition parties (Do you know how weird it is to see Oshima Tadamori, Shii Kazuo and Fukushima Mizuho sharing a stage at a huge rally, with all three of them wearing identical headbands?) but the government coalition partner the People's New Party against participation, the consensus builder Noda is facing the challenge of his life, at a time he would much rather be hammering out the details of the third supplementary budget, ferreting out the resources necessary to reconstruct the Tohoku region and mitigate the Fukushima disaster and pushing through a rise in the consumption tax to pay for Japan's mounting retiree and healthcare costs.
As for the Korean Example, which was supposed to goad the country into accepting the mixed bag of burdens that is the TPP so as not to fall behind the seemingly FTA-mad ROK, the opportunistic fight breaking out in Seoul over ratification of the Korea-U.S. FTA could not come at a worse time.
The world (well, at least the world investor class, which controls much of the way the world is portrayed) is screaming "Go" and the political situation at home is screaming "Stop."
No matter which path Noda chooses today, he loses.
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