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    Don’t expect much change in Japan, either

    The DPJ has released a policy document to allay fears that, to put it bluntly, if it scores a majority in the Diet in next month’s elections it will screw things up because it doesn’t really know what it’s doing:

    The policy pamphlet will serve as the basis for Minshuto’s campaign manifesto for the election that many people expect will upset the balance of power.

    For example, Minshuto will no longer insist on the immediate end of the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s refueling mission in the Indian Ocean to assist in the U.S.-led fight against terrorism in Afghanistan.

    Minshuto has also backed down on its previous position concerning the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that Japan has with the United States concerning the U.S. presence in this country.

    Minshuto had long opposed the MSDF’s refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.

    The policy pamphlet also calls for the implementation of inspections of cargo ships under economic sanctions against North Korea called for by a U.N. Security Council resolution.

    The move is aimed at deflecting criticism from Prime Minister Taro Aso who roundly attacked Minshuto for failing to deliberate a bill that would have allowed for such inspection of cargo ships. The lack of deliberation led to the bill being scrapped.

    To alleviate concerns among officials of the U.S. government that a Minshuto administration would drastically alter relations with the United States, the policy pamphlet says the party will propose a revision to the SOFA with the United States.

    In the draft document, Minshuto sought to start a comprehensive revision of the SOFA.

    Hmmm…shifting away from pie-in-the-sky positions when the prospect of actually taking the reins of government forces pragmatism on you. A memory is stirring…something familiar-sounding…no, lost it. Won’t come. The DPJ is also planning to push up subsidies for farm-family income to 2011. I’m not sure whether that represents an attempt to combat the LDP’s traditional dominance outside urban areas or just the pro-bucolicism sentimentality that seems to stir hearts in every industrialized democracy.

    3 Responses to “Don’t expect much change in Japan, either”

    1. Eric Scheie says:

      I love your title, “Don’t expect much change in Japan, either.”

      The problem is, it didn’t make me think of Japan! I keep seeing people who complain about change in this country also making hay out of the irony that there isn’t. If Obama is changing everything, that’s new and bad. If OTOH, Obama is the same old same old (just like Bush), then that’s hypocrisy and bad.

      In my old age this business of having to be irritated and stirred up for opposite reasons is getting tedious.

    2. Sean says:

      A lot of people are looking for reasons to be angry right now. I don’t mean that there aren’t a lot of legitimate reasons to be angry, just that, yeah, there’s a lot of flipping out first and asking questions later. And reflexively attaching the darkest possible interpretation to whatever the opposition does. It’s extremely wearisome, and I wish everyone would cut it out.

    3. Eric Scheie says:

      I don’t want to be angry, so I try to work on it. Yet it often seems that people not only want to be angry, they want me to be angry, and because I’m trying to avoid anger, I end up being angry at the angry for trying to make me angry, which of course means they succeeded.

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