Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What Does Abe Know That We Do Not Know?

The most peculiar moment in the prime minister's policy speech yesterday?

The one that starts at the 16:22 mark of the exceedingly brief (18:55 - with applause) address, the text of which I repost and translate below. When watching the video (Link) pay close attention to what happens after Abe finishes his last sentence.

And then, more than anything, a resolution of the abductees problem. Until the day is upon us when all of the families of the abducted can hold their relations in their arms, my mission will not have ended. I will not swerve from the plan of employing "dialogue and pressure" upon the DPRK. I will exert every effort to meet the three goals of confirming the safety of and securing the immediate return of all of the abducted, clearing up the mystery surrounding the abductions and having those responsible for the abductions handed over to our custody.
Notice the oddity? After Abe thunders out his determination, he is not greeted with a chorus of hooting or sustained applause. Just embarrassed-sounding shouts from a few members, quickly abandoned.

The abductees issue is Abe's signature issue -- the pole he has used to vault over his more experienced and politically savvy rivals in the party. The stick, if you will, that props him up.

One would have thought that the reactionary Friends of Shinzo, many of whom owe their seats and prominence to incessant thumping of rostrums about the abductees, would have prepared a coordinated explosion of applause and shouting at Abe's declaration of unwielding will.

One would have thought that...and been wrong.

I am not sure I understand the politics of including this paragraph in the speech, without support. The promises made are impossible to realize -- unless Abe knows something nobody else knows. Neither those in the chamber nor the public needed a reminder that Abe is Abductee Man.

So what was the point of making outlandish promises? To highlight the differences between his approach and the approaches of the last three Democratic Party of Japan prime ministers? When there cannot be any differences, either in approach or in outcomes?

1 comment:

YY said...

I understand every cabinet member is now appointed "deputy minister" in charge of abductees.

Problem is while not PC to admit it, most would probably accept that the issue has lost traction and any hope of resolution. So amplification of the issue results in very quiet reception.

It's probably Abe being willfully blind to what everybody else knows rather than the other way around. At least it's not as obvious a tilt at windmills as Hatoyama's Okinawa promises.

Cheers, YY