Thursday, February 09, 2006

The four and a half minute gap

What was Abe Shinzo thinking? Why did he not immediately confer with the PM about dumping the revision of the succession law?

It turns out that Abe knew about the announcement of the imperial pregnancy but did not inform the PM--despite being seated directly behind him in interpellations.

The noontime NHK broadcast made the announcement at 12:08 p.m. The Prime Minister was not informed until 12:12:30.

In the now-famous video the PM receives a note from his aide, a Mr. Yamazaki. A look of complete shock and amazement sweeps over his features. As the two pour over the text of the note, Abe leans into the frame, then nods his head repeatedly in agreement, saying, "So, so."

Just when was it that Abe was going to mention this little detail to his superior?

Incidentally, the wording of the note provided a moment of brief comedy and probably added to Koizumi's initial surprise. Instead of saying, "the Princess Akishino is expecting a child," the note read, "the Prince Akishino is expecting a child"--raising the possibility in the PM's mind that "Mr. Fast Hands" had really messed up the succession issue.

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