Yesterday Abe Shinzo envoy and symbol manipulator extraordinaire Iijima Isao (the bald gentleman above) met with President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong-nam (the other...errr...gentleman above).
Now it is true that the government of North Korea could just be trotting out its #2 leader for a meeting that goes nowhere, releasing footage of Iijima and Kim in The Big Chairs in front of The Big Painting only to metaphorically pull the chair out from under Iijima-san's massive posterior, humiliating both him and his prime minister.
However, does one need the #2 in the leadership to take time out of his busy schedule of evildoing in order to humiliate Iijima, whose formal title is the decidedly modest one of Special Advisor to the Cabinet (naikaku kambo sanyo)? Would not ordering a driver to take Iijima all around greater Pyongyang, permitting him meet no one of consequence, have done the trick? Yes, some commentators have suggested that the meetings Iijima has had with top government officials are designed to make South Korean and U.S. officials worried that Japan is about to cut a deal undermining ongoing denuclearization and military pull back efforts. (Link)
But a breakthrough, even a lousy one, should be welcomed, right?
As I noted earlier, the complete lack of coordination between the Government of Japan and the governments of the United States, South Korea and seemingly China...and the only-Abe-could-get-away-with-this keeping in the dark of the families of the abducted are indicators that Abe has something in the works similar to, if not commensurate with, the Nixon Shock (Nikuson shokku).
If Iijima has secured a deal in Pyongyang regarding a resolution of the abductees issue then that deal could be put to the Cabinet for Cabinet Decision (kakugi kettei) during the its regularly scheduled meeting today (Friday). Prime Minister Abe could then call a special press conference starting at, if experience is any guide, 18:00 local time.