Iijima Isao, Koizumi Jun'ichiro's public relations wizard brought back into the Prime Minister's Residence by a suitably chastened Abe Shinzo, whose previous turn as Prime Minister shuddered from one P.R. disaster to the next, arrived in Pyongyang, luggage in hand (a kahuna who carries his own bags, wonderful!) for a big time official meeting with North Korean officials.
How do we know that this is a big time official visit?
Look at the lapel.
Iijima has his Prime Minister's Residence service badge on.
Oh, Iijima could have forgotten to take the badge off before leaving the plane. However, such an oversight is unlikely, given that the symbolism master was traveling to Pyongyang -- where the lapel badge is EVERYTHING.
An aside, but for a bald, fat dude, Iijima rocks the two-toned dress shirt look.
In all seriousness, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo spent a significant chunk of time during his exceedingly brief Diet Policy Speech promising a resolution of the North Korean abductees issue. With Iijima on the case in and heads rolling in Pyongyang, perhaps Abe was not, as I assumed at the time of the policy speech, just blowing smoke about a resolution of the abduction conundrum.
Prepare to be surprised. Nay, astonished.
Later - An earlier version of this post was published without the photo image. Apologies.
Screen grab courtesy: NHK