Sunday, April 22, 2012

Some Very Tense Family Dinners

A sweet little tidbit from the Yomiuri Shimbun's home page:
LDP secretary general postpones China visit
Jiji Press
Nobuteru Ishihara, secretary general of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, has decided to postpone his visit to China, party sources said.
The decision came after his father, Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, unveiled a plan earlier this week for his metropolitan government to buy the Senkaku Islands claimed by Japan and China, provoking fierce criticism in China.
The junior Ishihara had planned to visit China for four days from Friday to give a lecture at a university in Shanghai. However, he was informed by the university that his safety could not be ensured, the sources said Thursday...
I would not be at all surprised if Ishihara fils is convinced that Ishihara père is out to ruin his future.

Poor I. Nobuteru has a decent shot at replacing Tanigaki Sadakazu as the president of the LDP this fall, his only plausible rival being former defense minister Ishiba Shigeru. However, I. Shintaro keeps sucking up all the oxygen in the room -- whether through his linking up with Kamei Shizuka and Hiranuma Takeo to create a "true conservative" party, his crusade (a remake) to bring the Olympics to Tokyo or his pulled-from-out-of-his-nether-regions proposal to buy some of the Senkaku Islands from their private owner (E). At every moment, I. Nobuteru has to be ready to crouch down to duck the shrapnel flying out from his father's playing around with explosives.

One can imagine I. Nobuteru thinking, "Dad, why can't you announce incredibly expensive idiot plan to eliminate cloud cover over the Tocho, just to ruin my older brother's day?"


Anonymous said...


Interesting that a "rising star" gets a pass while the old man yelling at the sky, who was praised by the said star for innovative Senkaku utilization, does not.


Avery said...

I'm absolutely fascinated by the American aspect of Ishitara's showboating. Or rather, the complete lack of it.

Ishihara got on an airplane and traveled 15 hours to Washington, then entered the press room of the Heritage Foundation, that hallowed American conservative think tank... and gave a speech, in Japanese, about an issue nobody in America cares about. It caused a spat in Japan but the American media jotted down a trivial graf or two (the New York Times, as is its wont, referred to Senkaku as "the group known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese"), but mostly did not even mention that he gave America the privilege of hosting his speech. Some of them were probably translating an article from a Japanese paper, meaning the news traveled across the Pacific twice before reaching any American readers.

Why take the effort? Did he expect Fox News to take up the issue? I honestly think he did. Despite the whiny caricatures of him in the Times, I think Ishihara has a genuine internationalist streak and wants to help make Japan a power player in Asia. But he doesn't know how to make a speech to Americans, or employing American rhetoric, or-- I guess this is the key point-- in English.

MTC said...

YY -


Avery -

Thank you for your post. Ishihara did have an ulterior motive to go to Washington. He wanted to lobby some in the U.S. Congress directly for a conversion of USFJ Yokota Airbase into a joint military-civilian airport -- a hobby horse he has been pursuing for many, many years.

As to his speech at the Heritage Foundation, conservatives flock together. Furthermore, I have heard fron folks in Washington that the organizers were warned about Ishihara's unpredictability and his contempt limiting himself to announced subject matters.