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POLITICS

Short takes from the weeklies

  • 2015-07-16 15:00:00
  • , Asahi
  • Translation

 A robot

 [Shukan Gendai, 7/25&8/1/2015 issue, p. 72]

 

o “His performance is poorer than that of a robot out of kilter.” (a Defense Ministry bureaucrat, quoted as bitterly backbiting his boss, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani, about his Diet replies to interpellations over the government’s proposed security legislation)

 

 New national stadium

 [Shukan Bunshun, 7/23/2015 issue, pp. 22-25]

 

o Shukan Bunshun conducted a spot questionnaire survey of its email newsletter subscribers, asking them whether they think the new national stadium should be built as currently planned. There were answers from as many as 1,089 persons. In response to that question, a total of 86.7% voiced anger, saying “no” to the snowballing cost of construction due to its keel arches.

 

 


 

 “Another happening”?

 [Shukan Bunshun, 7/23/2015 issue, p. 37]

 

o “In September last year, I visited Hong Kong, where I met some officials from Chinese President Xi Jinping’s special team for foreign relations.” (Isao Iijima, formerly a political secretary of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, currently a special advisor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet, in his “Gekikara [fiery hot] Intelligence” column for the weekly magazine)

 

o “I met countless times with President Xi’s confidants from his special team, and we exchanged heated words behind the scenes, mainly in Hong Kong, for how to thaw frigid Japan-China relations.” (Iijima)

 

o “Chinese government ships, which belong to the China Coast Guard, have been frequently violating Japan’s territorial waters off the Senkaku Islands. They used to dispatch as many as five or ten ships. But now they have stopped sending so many. That’s because Xi’s confidants agreed with me that they would hold the dispatch to three ships at most. They’ve been keeping this promise for more than one and a half years now.” (Iijima)

 

o “A confidant of Xi’s told me, ‘One of these days something will happen again.’ What was he talking about?” (Iijima)

 

 Yokota reversion

 [Shukan Asahi, 7/24/2015 issue, pp. 18-21]

 

o “The U.S. still commands the air over Tokyo almost in its entirety. This fact is little known to this country’s people, however. The airspace controlled by the U.S. Air Force’s Yokota base is a ‘barrier,’ so Japanese airplanes are not allowed in principle to fly freely over this area. This is a serious problem that concerns Japan’s independence, so there’s no need for the Tokyo metropolitan government to remain silent. However, the Foreign Ministry is a coward, so it’s hopeless. I want Prime Minister Abe to tackle the return of Yokota airbase as a national issue.” (Shintaro Ishihara, a former Tokyo governor and former lawmaker who retired from politics in 2014, in a dialogue with Shizuka Kamei, currently an independent lawmaker seated in the House of Representatives)

 

 Okinawa

 [Shukan Asahi, 7/24/2015 issue, p. 25]

 

o “The U.S. government fears Okinawa will turn anti-U.S. and anti-Japan. Washington doesn’t want the local residents to cry out against the presence of U.S. military bases other than Henoko. Gov. Onaga is planning to visit the United States again, possibly this fall at the earliest. He’s thinking of meeting with people there to let them know how Okinawa is now.” (Tsuyoshi Saito, formerly a deputy chief cabinet secretary when the Democratic Party of Japan was in office, and a now-retired lawmaker seated in the House of Representatives)

 

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