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    Change of plans

    The scheduled visit by the PRC’s Deputy Prime Minister Wu Yi to Prime Minister Koizumi today has been canceled by the Chinese side. LDP leader Shinzo Abe says that Tokyo is not considering it a diplomatic affront:

    “If sudden business came up, that can’t be helped; however, most Japanese citizens may be left harboring the feeling that they have been treated discourteously,” he indicated. At the same time, he expressed an understanding that “the purpose of her visit was to pay her respects; she it not the Prime Minister’s counterpart [in rank]. This is not a major problem.”

    The official reason given was, as Abe referred to, that Wu had business at home that she could not delay attending to. There’s been some speculation that the real reason for the cancellation was Koizumi’s visits to the Yasukuni Shrine. The Mainichi reports that a government official (not named) said ofthe cancellation:

    “Is it not possible that Ms. Wu canceled her visit because it was conveyed to the Chinese side that, if she raised the issue of the Yasukuni Shrine during their meeting, Prime Minister Koizumi would have no choice but to reply very forcefully that her conduct constituted interference in [Japanese] internal political affairs?” The official was of the view that the Yasukuni Shrine pilgrimage issue was the cause of the cancellation.

    Unfortunately, you can’t translate 内政干渉 (naisei-kanshou: “inside” + “affairs of state” + “interference”) in a way that gets its irritable four-character hissiness across. In any case, China has not been particularly skittish about addressing the issue before. It’s one of the reasons visits between the two heads of state have been suspended. There’s the possibility that Wu suddenly realized, for whatever reason, that bringing it up on Japan’s home turf wasn’t a good idea; and “sudden business” certainly sounds like an expedient excuse. President Hu Jintao had no trouble registering his displeasure about the pilgrimages to the Yasukuni Shrine with the chairmen of the LDP and Shin-Komeito.

    2 Responses to “Change of plans”

    1. Simon says:

      You might not be aware that she is free enough to visit Mongolia tomorrow.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      That just means it was a short emergency. [flicks eyes back and forth]

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