Former U.S. Speaker of the House Thomas "Tip" O'Neill, one of America's most influential politicians of the late 20th century, had some sage advice for those who thought about national or international politics. "All politics," O'Neill warned, "is local."

It's a lesson Tokyo's political and media class too often forgets or ignores. In the case of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the negative reaction around Japan to his forcing the state secrets bill through the Diet just adds to the perception he has a tin ear for local politics.

Had Abe or his Cabinet listened more and spoken less, they would have discovered the law was not just a "national" issue. From Osaka and Kobe to Fukushima, Fukui and Okinawa, local leaders were skeptical at best and have concerns that are not going to go away.