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    Back in Japan

    Man, three-hour flights are short. You take off, they give you crap for breakfast, you doze a little, and all of a sudden Kunimoto, Your Chief Cabin Attendant, is all blaring, “ご案内いたします。Seatbelts FASTENED, seats and trays UP, bags STOWED, and don’t even be THINKING about getting up to pee!” I’m hardly complaining, but it was all bewilderingly abrupt.

    I haven’t gotten a chance to really catch up on news–they had yesterday morning’s Nikkei on the plane, but for those who can’t stand missing a single volley in the diplomatic wars around here:

    At noon on 17 January, Prime Minister Jun’ichiro Koizumi attacked a statement by South Korean Foreign Minister Ki-Mun Ban. Ban had expressed the point of view that the conducting of head-of-state visits [between the two countries] will be thorny as long as the Japanese Prime Minister makes pilgrimages to the Yasukuni Shrine. Koizumi said, “We can meet at any time. Even if there are one or two differences of opinion and standoffs, communication and dialogue are necessary. I cannot understand the policy of refusing meetings because of a difference over a single issue.” He was responding to a question from the press corps at the Prime Minister’s residence.

    Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, addressing a press conference after a cabinet meeting the same day, stated, “Our position as the nation of Japan is that we are always ready to talk.”

    So no change.

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