Thursday, November 07, 2013

Follow Up On Koike Yuriko

A week ago, in a post about the Official Secret Bill (Yes, someday I will write about something else) and Koike Yuriko, the Liberal Democratic Party's top public information honcho, I wrote that:

"Publishing in English via Project Syndicate, she has disseminated anti-Democratic Party of Japan and pro-Abe Shinzo propaganda worldwide underneath the radar of the local representatives of the foreign press."

As luck, or the simple passage of time, would have it, Koike has clocked in with one of her stomping propaganda pieces:
Reinventing a key security institution in Japan

Shinzo Abe's second term as Japan's Prime Minister began with a laser-like focus on economic revitalization. That policy, almost instantly dubbed "Abenomics", comprises what have been called the three "arrows": bold monetary policy, an expansionary fiscal stance, and structural reforms to stimulate private investment. Hosting the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020 has added a fourth arrow to this quiver in the form of increased infrastructure investment and tourism revenue in the years up to the games.

To be sure, after 15 years of deflationary recession, revitalization of the Japanese economy remains far from complete. Nonetheless, the effects of Abe's reforms are becoming visible in areas such as equity prices and exchange rates.

But Abe also confronts a security environment in Asia that is every bit as brittle as Japan's economy was before his government took office last December. Indeed, he confronted many of the same issues during his first administration seven years ago. His efforts back then were halted by his own resignation, and he is now making a second attempt to establish a national security governance system to meet Japan's needs—and those of its allies—in 21st century Asia.

In a speech to a plenary session of the lower house of Japan's Diet on 25 October, Abe emphasized that, given the current security situation in Asia, "It is essential to strengthen command functions for implementing the Prime Minister's national security policy." Now that split control of the Diet's upper and lower houses has been resolved, with Abe's Liberal Democrats in strong control of both chambers, a Bill to modernize Japan's national security governance is certain to pass.

The Bill that Abe has submitted aims to establish a Japanese National Security Council (NSC), based on lessons from the successes and failures of similar institutions in other countries, such as NSC in the US. The Security Council of Japan—something of a stopgap measure created to provide advice from relevant cabinet members to the Prime Minister in times of crisis—will now be reorganized as a formal institution.

The new NSC's membership will be limited to the Prime Minister, the cabinet secretary, and the foreign and defence ministers, with relevant ministers added on an ad hoc basis. A permanent National Security Secretariat, headed by a person with abundant diplomatic experience, will be established in the Prime Minister's office, with 60 security specialists from various fields laying the policy groundwork for medium and long-term national security strategy.

First, compliments where deserved. The text is both in straightforward, colloquial English and makes sense, in any language.

Second, Koike-san, cool it on the clapping-for-oneself-in-the-North-Korean-manner adjectives and adjectivals ("laser-like," "bold," "abundant") will ya?

Third, how much shorter would the work day of Prime Minister's Residence journalists be if Koike were given the job of official government spokesperson? Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide, who is as good at his multi-tasking nightmare job as anyone ever has been, nevertheless leaves folks drooling with strings of rhetorical questions rather than clearcut assertions or denials.

If Koike were wrangling the journalists, the daily press conference would be, "Here's the news -- so listen up, you idiots."

The essay is interesting for its detour into self-indulgence, with Koike venting once again about the Prime Minister's Schedule, her pet peeve, her discussion of which caused the government angina last week. That an international audience would not understand a single thing about whatever it is about the Schedule that puts Koike into such a snit (not that domestic audiences can either) does not bother her in the least, evidently.

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