Monday, January 26, 2009

It's Not Nay to Nye

I will believe it when I see it...but this looks, as Okumura Jun enjoys saying, like "a done deal."

Sources: Nye to be named U.S. Japan envoy

TOKYO, Jan. 25 -- Former U.S. Assistant Defense Secretary Joseph Nye has been informally designated as the next U.S. ambassador to Japan, sources say.

Nye, a Harvard University professor, has reportedly said he would accept the post and his assumption of the ambassadorship is expected to be formally decided as early as the end of this month, unnamed sources told Sunday's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper...
This morning's Yomiuri Shimbun is spinning the putative appointment as evidence that the new U.S. administration considers Japan extremely important (Nihon jūshi). The paper also claims that Nye is "known to be of the faction that knows Japan well" (chinichiha to shite shirareru) -- which is normally code for "a guy who will not expect too much from Japan."

[The "Knows Japan Well" Faction? There are factions of the "Japan Ignorant" somewhere? And what is this business about factions, anyway?]

Verily, the Government of Japan should be on high alert. With Joseph Nye, the nominal co-author of the "Armitage-Nye Report" and the mainstream academic avatar of "soft power," Japan's bureaucrats will be facing an individual and a presence to whom it will be very difficult to say, "What you are asking would be very difficult..." Joseph Nye can get them both coming and going -- pushing on the military contribution side and shoving on the aid, trade and public diplomacy/propaganda side -- and still be true to both his mandate as ambassador and his personal intellectual legacy.

"The Faction of Those Who Know Japan well" has a paradoxical countermeaning, of course. To the elite hands in both Tokyo and Washington, it whispers, "those who want Japan to be a major political player on the world stage."

I sure hope the policy "community" makes all this clear to the citizens. The rules of democracy sort of require it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

>"chinichiha toshite shirareru"
>-- which is normally code for "a guy who will not expect too much from Japan."

very funny!

If you know about a country very well and more love it, it may be natural to demand a lot for the country for its future.

If "Chinichiha" is not like that, people are very boring. for me.

It's sad to know that Chinichiha is expecting nothing much from Japan (if it really is).

As nobody expect too much from something he or she doesn't care.

And more sad to know Japanese politician/bureaucrat themselves want them to be like that. (passive)

In my past-understanding, "Chinichiha" was the word implying "a guy who can understand Japan's unique and naive probrems in the (same) way Japanese do".

I haven't judged yet if Nye san is "Chinichiha" in my understanding

anyway, I share your "it's not nay to nye" feeling.

Very exciting to have him here, whatever "ha" he belongs to - as he's smart :)