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    Official smoke-filled rooms

    While everyone’s busy wishing Bill Clinton could run for President again, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has been a quiet attendee at the Democratic Convention and has been making a few interesting contacts. Katsuya Okada, leader of the DPJ, has apparently met with Joseph Nye, one of Clinton’s Assistant Secretaries of Defense now back at Harvard, and Ezra Vogel, the Harvard professor emeritus who’s one of the few people to specialize equally in China and Japan. Naturally, they (the Nikkei article is very brief and doesn’t say whether the three met together or Okada met the others individually) talked about security issues and US-Japan relations. No report of what they specifically discussed.

    2 Responses to “Official smoke-filled rooms”

    1. Meaty Fly says:

      Here’s more information on the visit. It appears that the meetings were separate. Seems to me that Okada’s trying to lay the groundwork for a withdrawal from Iraq by establishing a repor with figures likely to be influential with Kerry.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      Thanks for the link. No surprise there. Also no surprise that the presentation of constitutional amendment proposals may be accelerated.
      And yeah, your interpretation sounds like the most common-sense one. Wonderful. For anyone who doesn’t know, Ezra Vogel wrote a 1979 book called Japan as Number One that, in Japanese translation, remains the best-selling work of non-fiction written by a foreigner. (Wonder why.) Vogel was completely smitten by the Japanese civil service, with its roots in elite institutions such as the University of Tokyo and its ability to set policy without having to worry about being voted out of office. Whether out of sincere self-reflection or the desire to save face, he wrote a book four years ago called Is Japan Still Number One?. You can guess the answer. Even so, despite his acknowledgement of the downside of unaccountable bureaucratic power, I’d be surprised if his views weren’t still pretty hard statist.