Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Slippery Abe

David Pilling, the FT's Tokyo correspondent, conducted an interview with Abe Shinzo that is perhaps remarkable only for its lack of firm commitment to anything other than constitutional revision -- which Abe has already voiced his enthusiasm for on previous occasions.

And even on constitutional revision he is noncommital. He is long on ideals, short on details: "I believe this article needs to be revised from the viewpoint of defending Japan, and also in order to comply with the international expectation that Japan make international contributions." Yes, Mr. Abe, but what would that translate to in writing in the revised constitution?

Abe answered Pilling's probing questions with platitudes, in particular his question about whether the recent Sino-Japanese "detente" is resilient enough to survive if Abe decides to visit Yasukuni Shrine.

So what have we learned about Abe from this interview? Nothing really. He's either holding his cards extremely close to his chest, or he's just winging it.

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