"Mr. Prime Minister, given how well both your teams did in the just-concluded World Cup, is this shot not kind of, you know, weird -- not to mention, wide?"
Yesterday just before 10 a.m., Prime Minister Abe returned to Tokyo from his week-long trip to Latin America and the Caribbean. He had an audience with the Emperor informing his Majesty of his safe return (why does no one question the preservation of this Victorian relic, the requirement that every minister stop off at the Palace to tell the Emperor that he/she is leaving the country and, upon his/her return, go to the Palace to check in? How about just notifying His Majesty via Facebook?).
After the 15 minutes with His Majesty, Abe went to the Diet Member's Building #1 to the dentist's office therein to have some work done on his teeth.
What is unbelievable about this schedule?
That after the visit to the dentist's office, Prime Minister Abe and Mrs. Abe went home to their private home in Tomigaya AND THE PM TOOK THE AFTERNOON OFF.
For anyone who peruses the PM's hyperactive-to-the-point-of-almost-parody daily schedules, the news that he came back on a Monday and proceeded to do basically nothing both astounds and instill fear.
Is the PM OK? Could he not have convened a meeting of yet another important-sounding obscure economic reform panel? Receive a visit from the Chiba Kiwi Fruit Marketing Association Kiwi Festival queens? (Link)
Perhaps the otherwise unoccupied hours gave the PM time to reflect upon some eternal truths he has seemed to have been ignoring of late:
- if I ever listen to what my fellow Liberal Democratic Party members are telling me to do, my term in office will be abbreviated and the LDP will go down to ignominious electoral defeat only three years after winning an unassailable victory. To live long and prosper I must remember Koizumi Jun'ichiro's contempt for LDP conventional wisdom!
- if I reward my friends for their loyalty, they will repay me with either incompetence, larceny, treachery or all three combined. I have a terrible taste in friends.
- I have to tell domestic audiences that I am sincere when I
a) hand out Cabinet posts in September based on faction affiliation
b) ram through the Diet an emergency spending plan to boost rural development just in time for the mid-April local elections (Link)
c) say I learned the lesson of the Shiga gubernatorial election and will redouble my efforts to guarantee LDP candidates win the upcoming Fukushima and Okinawa gubernatorial contests
and signal to international audiences that I am doing all of these things for utterly insincere and cynical reasons and so please ignore them, they are not the real Abe Shinzo -- otherwise one side or the other will drop me like a piece of Shanghai-processed chicken.
Photo image of Team Abe in Brazil courtesy: Abe Shinzo official Facebook page.