Brad Glosserman asserts in his Jan. 23 article, “False choices for Tokyo,” that “the unblinking focus on domestic politics” under Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda’s administration is severely hampering the U.S.-Japan alliance. If this seems true to Glosserman, the reason is probably that once again an overseas political pundit has trouble understanding that domestic issues such as the pension fiasco and health-care concerns are paramount in the minds of the Japanese public at present.
Fukuda is well aware that former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration was excoriated by the public for its failure on various domestic issues, and that the downfall of Abe’s administration had more to do with this than his inability to get the Self-Defense Force’s refueling mission in the Indian Ocean extended. Fukuda can see from his own sagging approval ratings that he must tend, first and foremost, to the most pressing issues affecting this nation’s people.
If Fukuda does not convince the public that he is up to the job and the Liberal Democratic Party loses control of the Lower House in an election later this year, the U.S.-Japan alliance that Glosserman worries about will suffer even more in the long run.