Good cop, bad cop
Posted by ampontan on Thursday, November 11, 2010
THE MAINICHI SHIMBUN ran a story in its morning edition of 8 November that, if true, confirms what most people have long suspected. It’s one of the many reasons for the widespread anger with Chief Cabinet Secretary Sengoku Yoshito, and shows why speculation has begun that Prime Minister Kan Naoto will have to cut him loose if his Cabinet is to survive–though that’s growing increasingly unlikely by the minute.
Recall that in September, private-sector consultant Shinohara Tsukasa was recruited (likely by Mr. Sengoku) to create a channel of communication with the Chinese government. That paved the way for a meeting between Chinese officials and DPJ MP Hosono Goshi. Reported the Mainichi:
“Chief Cabinet Secretary Sengoku is said to have agreed to the Chinese demand that the video of the encounter between the Chinese fishing boat and the Japanese Coast Guard vessels not be shown to the public, and that the observation tour of the Senkakus by Okinawa Gov. Nakaima (Hirokazu) would be called off.”
One wonders what might have happened over the past two months had someone in the DPJ government been willing to stand up for Japanese sovereignty and its national interest, rather than cede the Japanese public’s right to know to the Chinese, and allow the Chinese government to dictate the travel arrangements of a Japanese prefectural governor within the borders of his own jurisdiction.
One also wonders what Prime Minister Kan was doing when all this was going down.
There have been reports that Mr. Sengoku from the start intended to act as a lightning rod for criticism of the Cabinet to protect Mr. Kan and the younger ministers, such as Maehara Seiji. After the past two months, he’s already absorbed so much electricity he probably glows in the dark.
People who serve as chief cabinet secretaries sometimes team up with the prime minister to work the good cop, bad cop routine. For example, Hirano Hirofumi said several times that he was more than willing to take the heat as the bad cop to Hatoyama Yukio’s good cop, particularly for the Futenma issue, but the latter scattered so many banana peels along his own path he couldn’t make it across the stage.
Though Mr. Sengoku seems to be a natural-born bad cop, even this less-than-dynamic duo can’t get the routine to work. That would require someone credible to play the good cop role, but Mr. Sengoku is stuck with the Japanese equivalent of Barney Fife.