Tuesday, February 17, 2009

First Stop: Japan, Day 3

Secretary Clinton started off her third day in Japan with a series of interviews with all three network morning news shows: ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS’s The Early Show and NBC’s Today Show. The interviews were held in the small U.S. Embassy. After the interviews, she headed straight to the Imperial Residence. It was here that she met with Empress Michiko for tea. (As an aside, in 1994, President and Mrs. Clinton held a state dinner in honor of the Emperor and Empress.) After meeting with the Empress, the Secretary returned to her hotel to continue on-camera interviews with Japanese broadcasters and Japanese newspapers. Next on the agenda was a meeting with young Japanese students at Tokyo University. This was a "town-hall style" where she greeted and mingled with students after getting up with the mic and answering a wide range of the students questions. State Department officials said she was "in her element" while at the University. Not surprising to me at all!

From the University she headed to a meeting and working dinner with Prime Minister Aso. This is such an interesting meeting because Japanese public support for Aso has sank to less then 20 percent. That's bad. That's like... Bush level bad. So for Japan that means there is an actual possibility for the DPJ, the Democratic Party of Japan, to win control from the LDP, the Liberal Democratic Party, in upcoming elections.

Now, if you know anything about Japanese politics you can skip ahead. But for those that don't, the Liberal Democratic Party is actually the "conservative right-wing" of Japan. Veerrrry confusing for them to be called the Liberal Democratic Party. Although I can hardly claim to know the state of Japan, I think this would be good for the country. Just from the few tidbits I've been keeping up on it sounds to me like Japan and the U.S. are living some kind of parallel universe type thing. Japan is going through the hardest economic time, possibly... ever. As are we. Their Prime Minister's cabinet approval ratings fell through the floor and they are on the cusp of a new election where the Liberal Party has a chance to overthrow the ancient régime. According to the official DPJ the LDP is "locked in old thinking and vested interests..." The DPJ aims to "solve the problems at hand, and create a new, flexible, affluent society which values people's individuality and vitality." Interesting, right?

Ok back to Clinton. After Aso, she then had a meeting with opposition party leader Ichiro Ozawa. During their meeting at a Tokyo hotel, Clinton and Ozawa agreed to make greater efforts to promote bilateral relations. There has been some questions about the U.S. meeting with members of an opposing party. This is what Gordon Duguid, from the State Department said about this issue: "The meeting with the opposition party is a normal practice of secretaries of state when they visit countries. The opposition parties are part of the democratic process. You do want to hear what the opposition has to say. It’s not only government-to-government relations that are important to the United States, but people-to-people relations." Very nice.

This was another long day for the Secretary, as expected. And I think because of the strange time difference Hillary has already uprooted and is saying goodbye to Japan. Bye Secretary, see you on your next stop!

**UPDATE** Just wanted to once again comment on the ROYAL BLUE! OMG! This really is her signature color as Secretary of State. And I don't mind at all! Stunning she is...


Hillary Clinton Army said...

Wow! Great descriptions, great photos. Thanks!

Sarah said...

Thanks so much! :D The photos are great because of Hillary!

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