Saturday, November 05, 2011

The Spearpoint Of Stupid

Oh, please. Tell me that Nagashima Akihisa, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister, did not say what he is reported as having said on Tuesday.

Arrghhhh. It is in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. The quote must be accurate.

Here is what he supposedly said, in regards to the strategic importance of the Trans Pacific Partnership:

「日本が中国から見てなかなか手ごわいと思わせるような戦略的環境を整えていくことだ」

"Japan would be, seen from the point of view of China, arranging a strategic environment that [they] will see [us] as formidable." (ja).
Oh holy crap.

As Corey Wallace has reported, any hint that the TPP is an anti-China front will send the Australians and the Kiwis packing (en). Well, this is not a hint: this a damn declaration.

A few weeks ago I was asked whether or not Nagashima, or "Aki" as he is known in certain Washington circles where he is beloved, has an influence on Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko's thinking.

For Amaterasu's sake, I sure hope not.

8 comments:

Armchair Asia said...

Thank you Shisaku. You have written exactly what I was thinking.

Good question about how much influence that dandy has. Noda appears to have done a number of things to keep the barbarians at bay with appointing Aki as one.

But maybe this will hurt him as what he said was not smart. Unless he is so clever that his intention was to slow down the TPP train. I am sure his Washington handlers were not happy at all.

Aceface said...

1)Excluding China out of TPP scheme wasn't invented by Nagashima/DPJ/or Japan.Everyone knows this including Kiwis and Aussies.

2)Japan's hugg-a-panda policy (one of few things that has been inherited by six prime ministers in the past six years)gets no pay back,but a ship-wreck in Senkakus and the most agressive maritime expansionism by PRC since 1948.
Hence the above sound bites from Mr.Nagashima.

What Mr.Nagashima's word shows is that he has Tokyo's interst comes first in his mind and not that of Beijing.
And why should that be anybody's surprise?

Or need to hedge the risk of China's rising geopolitical influence has now become a taboo topic?

Could be so in some capitals in Asia(like,say Kathmandu or Vientiane)but certainly not in Tokyo.

This blog,including the comment section sometimes reads more like Beijing wall-newspaper than a wanna-be-Washington insiders.

MTC said...

Aceface -

1) There is such a thing as discretion. One may think or even discuss within the confines of the Kantei such thoughts as those expressed by Nagashima. It is a completely different matter to put them in a public speech as a selling point for the TPP.

2) The Japanese government's policies toward China are predicated by geographic proximity, regional dynamics and Sino-Japanese economic integration, not just China's current or projected military strength.

3) If by Beijing wall newspapers, you are referring to the big character posters of Democracy Wall in 1978-79, thank you for the compliment.

Janne Morén said...

"If we can't join, make sure nobody else does either." Plausible or possible alternative trade strategy?

Aceface said...

1)Considering Noda's idea on A calss war criminals in Yasukuni and putting Hamada Kazuyuki as the vice minister at MoFA,Aki sounds voice of reason in comparison.

2)You can't change the geography and Sino-Japanese economic integration is something to be discussed at bilateral level.

I can't read what Nagashima has in his mind from limited information and sound bites,But it makes sense if he thinks TPP can be a platform to discuss certain matters excluding China's direct influence and may help harness China's power in regional dynamics that suits Japan's interest.

3)The democrcy wall in 79 was more about promoting ideas and less about character assassination based on misguided accusations.
This post,read to me,is not.

sigma1 said...

What New Zealand and Australia are sceptical about is whether the TPP is about trade at all and not a transparent attempt to provoke the PRC. This would be detrimental to those countries interests as it would be to Japan. There is such a thing as balance. Also it is not a question of a "soft" (or Panda hugging) or a "strong" approach but calibrating the approach relative to a strategy. A "strong" and "forceful" approach without a clear strategy is just as bad as a soft approach lacking a strategic view other than short-term appeasement.

Unlike for the US, Japan's national interests likely lie in being forceful vis-a-vis China in security affairs but being more balanced in regards to diplomatic and economic questions. Japan's own history has much to teach us about what happens when a country feels comprehensively excluded from a global order.

Aceface said...

"There is such a thing as balance."

Well,I thought that's what the TPP is all about.Balancing China.

"Japan's own history has much to teach us about what happens when a country feels comprehensively excluded from a global order."

That seemingly not happening to anyone these days,No?

These days,the only nation that gets excluded from global order is the one that walk out by itself.
Greece was about to do so economically and that's what Israelis are doing right now.North Koreans are being begged by the State Department to come back to the six party talks in return of oil.Things changed since State Department send ultimatum with the threat of oil embargo to the Japanese Empire in the 30's.

"What New Zealand and Australia are sceptical about is whether the TPP is about trade at all and not a transparent attempt to provoke the PRC."

The moment the U.S (and Japan)walked into TPP while China do not,TPP will be an economic caucus within APEC that would not match the Chinese trade interest.
If the Australians and New Zealanders are truely concerned about this situation,then why even made TPP in the first place?
Why didn't they just simply sign FTAs with other countries?
Besides,if any member country think that way,why would they even promote Japan(or the U.S) to join TPP?
TPP would be harmeless(and powerless)scheme had the member being restricted to original countries,like Burunei and Singapore.
Yet they chose not to.

"This would be detrimental to those countries interests as it would be to Japan"

At least from Japanese perspective,
we would like to have a caucus that can divert Chinese pressure that could have been targeted directly to our capital,and that is exactly the reason why TPP can be attractive some nations in Asia- Pacific.

sigma1 said...

Not quite sure where your are going with many if those points but it appears that you think I'm anti TPP. I'm in favour if Japan entering negotiations, I'm just not a fan of clumsy or faithless diplomacy.