Japan’s Futenma Fiasco

We’ve been linking pretty regularly in the Off the Radar News Roundups to the Hatoyama government’s difficulty in finding an acceptable alternative solution to the Futenma base relocation in Japan. Which is a problem, because the DPJ campaigned pretty extensively on renegotiating the issue.

Clearly it looks like Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama will have to backtrack, and clearly there will be political costs to that, among them, possibly losing his upper house majority due to a coalition partner’s defection. Tobias Harris offers some insights into how Hatoyama’s calculations ended up so wildly off the mark. He also makes a compelling argument for why the damage will be containable, and represents little more than the party’s expected steep learning curve in foreign policy.

Since I don’t do that much posting on Japan, I’ll also take this opportunity to link to this East Asia Forum post on the DPJ’s war against the administrative bureaucracy in Japan’s government ministries. If you’re like me, you’ve read quite a bit about how the DPJ planned to take power back from the bureaucracy. The post explains where that power resided, and how the DPJ plans to put it in the hands of cabinet ministers.

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