Thursday, April 05, 2012

Shintaro Goes To See Toru

Before Tokyo Metropolitan District Governor Ishihara Shintaro was a politician, he was a renowned author. Yesterday he showed his literary chops by managing to squeeze three lies into a three sentence response of 10 words total.


"Nani mo hanasu koto wa nai. Mitsudan. Sono uchi hanasu."

"I have nothing to say. This was a secret meeting. I will talk about it after a certain period of time."

Lie #1: "I have nothing to say."

Oh come on, Ishihara-san, you have something to say about everything. Indeed, one of the reasons some folks despise you is you cannot stop talking about subjects in which you have not the least expertise.

Lie #2: "This was a secret meeting."

Every single news organization had its reporters camped out in front of the Prince Hotel where you had the meeting. "Secret" cannot be used to describe the environment. The only thing that was secret about it was the departure of both principals via secondary exits in a vain attempt to avoid the reporters. (J)

Lie #3: "I will talk about it after a certain period of time."

Let us assume that Lie #2 was true, that yesterday's meeting was a private, secret, clandestine one. Then why in Amaterasu's name would you be promising to reveal the contents of what was discussed at a not-so-distant future time?

Whatever one might say about Ishihara, he is a genius at concision.

The meeting in question was the first between Ishihara and Osaka City mayor and Ishin no kai leader Hashimoto Toru since Hashimoto made a splashy courtesy call on Ishihara during a visit to Tokyo last December. (J)

Just what was discussed between the non-mainstream conservative leaders of Japan's two greatest conurbations during the 1 1/2 hour working lunch is not known. Informed guesses are that Ishihara sounded out Hashimoto regarding the plan Ishihara has to form a new "true conservative" party putting up candidates for the next House of Representatives election. Since Hashimoto has opened a training school for candidates with thousands of initial students, many presumably from the areas where Ishihara would try to have his candidates running, one can guess that Hashimoto's reaction to the Ishihara plan was muted. Hashimoto's enthusiasm would be further curbed by the fact that the politicians associated with the moves toward toward forming a "true conservative" party are Ishihara, Hiranuma Takeo and Kamei Shizuka -- all three of whom are the creakiest and crankiest of political dinosaurs.

Hashimoto's advice, blunt speaker that he is, was probably, "Ishihara-san, give it up now, before you embarrass yourself."

It is hard to know whether or not to read anything in the fact that it was Ishihara, the governor of the world's richest metropolis, visiting Hashimoto, the regional mayor. Perhaps it was Ishihara just returning the favor of Hashimoto's visiting him last year at the offices of the TMD. If so, why the secrecy? Ishihara was on a visit to Kyoto but made time in his schedule for a fast trip to Osaka for the meeting.

Whatever it was the two discussed, it was too important to be handled in a mere phone call, seemingly.

Anyway, Ishihara's extracurricular activities just reinforces my point of the other day.

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