Saturday, March 30, 2013

Not A Tree Again

In a repeat of the low profile he maintained in 2006-7, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo will not be attending the Spring Festival at Yasukuni Shrine (Link). As in 2007, he will pay his respects solely via sponsoring a masakaki (真榊) display.
Abe to make offering at Yasukuni
Jiji Press

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will make an offering of masakaki tree stands for an annual spring festival set to be held at Yasukuni Shrine from April 21 to 23, informed sources said Friday.

Abe made a similar offering for the 2007 spring festival at the Shinto shrine for the war dead when he was last prime minister. However, he did not visit the shrine during his previous 12-month term in office...

This decision represents the best of all possible worlds to Abe. He can check off a box with his nationalist or ultra-nationalist supporters whilst doing nothing the Chinese or South Korean leaderships can plausibly criticize.

Crunch time will come in August, though. I cannot see him foregoing a visit to Yasukuni this time around. Then again, if he pays a visit, it is hard to imagine him preventing Cabinet ministers Shindo, Furuya, Inada and Shimomura from paying visits as well. In reponse to which Chinese and South Koreans would go bananas.

Decisions, decisions...

Then again, a sudden private visit to Yasukuni now would provide sharp shock jolting the public's eye away from the stunning court decisions this past month regarding the constitutionality of the December 2012 election.

Later -As for the title of this post, it is a reference to the confused media reports five years ago.


Philippe said...

… jolting the public's eye away from the stunning court decisions …

Or shifting away the attention and discussions from abenomics? Economy indicators aren't doing that well in the real world (consumer spending down in february, factory orders not seeing any uptick ) – only the stock market bubble seems going well. BTW do you see lots of discussions & reporting about next fiscal years budget in the MSM? I'm under impression that that subject is more or less buried away this year.

MTC said...

Philippe -

I agree that the economic data releases have not been in the government's favor. However, the government can argue that it is too soon for the data to reflect the effects of its proposed policies.

What should trouble Abe more is what is coming out of Bank of Japan governor Kuroda Haruhiko's mouth. Kuroda's testimony and press conferences have struck me as being off message on government borrowing and Bank of Japan actions. Then again, my sense of Kuroda's speeches comes filtered by the news media.

Armchair Asia said...

Talking about the Constitution, how will this tree be paid for? Will the PM's office (the state)? If so, isn't that unconstitutional?