Thursday, November 22, 2012

About That Paragraph On The Senkakus In The LDP Manifesto

Prodded by an email, I have looked at the foreign and security policy section of the Liberal Democratic Party's electoral manifesto. I was particulary interested in a passage Yuka Hayashi and Alexander Martin of the Wall Street Journal have translated thusly:
"We will consider installing a permanent presence of government employees to protect the islands, and implementing improvements and support of the nearby fishery environment," the party said. "We will endeavor to achieve the stable maintenance and management of the islands and the surrounding waters."
Is this a proper rendering of the Japanese original?

Let us have a look at Paragraph of Promises #132 (there are a lot of promises made in the document):

132 尖閣諸島の実効支配強化と安定的な維持管理

Amaterasu and my readers know that I have no great facility with languages. Still, let me have a go at this:
132) In order to strengthen effective control over the Senkaku Islands, and maintain stable management of them

We will revise the policies regarding the Senkaku Islands, which, while being our national territory, have been subject to a policy of non-habitation. We shall strengthen our effective control. We will study the permanent and uninterrupted presence of civil servants in order to protect the islands -- and upgrades and financial support of the local fisheries environment. We will strive to maintain stable management of the islands and the surrounding waters.
Not all that different from the above. So why choose the term "civil servants" rather than "government employees" and put it in bold?

Because term the LDP manifesto uses is komuin.

Some of you can probably already see where this is headed.

It just so happens that members of the Self Defense Forces are "civil servants." They are, in fact, "special employment national civil servants" (tokubetsushoku kokka komuin -- Link - J).

So what the LDP manifesto is saying is that the party is examining the permanent basing of SDF troops on the islands in order to protect them without saying they are examining the permanent basing of SDF troops on the islands in order to protect them.



Brilliant and stupid, all at one time.



sigma1 said...

Or is it to give the impression that they might do such a bold and courageous thing...but really in reality they will just be ready to take advantage of what the supposedly weak-kneed DPJ is already doing?...the paragraph strongly implies but does not explicitly say to put komuin on the Senkaku Islands themselves. The DPJ has since the 2010 NDPG and subsequent Defense of Japan white papers has put a strong emphasis on "offshore island defense," is looking at placing the SDF on Yonaguni, and other islands, for the very same reasons articulated in the paragraph #132 you have cited. They will go ahead with what the DPJ was already doing but they can play it off as their own policy.

Anonymous said...

so unelectable that it's going to hurt...

still, at least the chinese will be happy - always good to have someone for the people to unite behind hating...

MTC said...

Sigma1 -

In line with your guess, the basing of SDF was option "H" of the options A through H studied by the DPJ leadership after the island purchase.

itallendintears -

Yes, if it were a national election. Unfortunately it is a single-member-district election coupled with a d'Hondt method proporational bloc vote. While dividing the country up into blocs does neutralize areas like the Chugoku, where support for the LDP is intense, the SMDs permit a huge shift in seat numbers to result from only a minor shift in the popular vote.