Sorry, Abe haters, he has a game plan. And it has things like this.
1. Special Envoys
China: Masahiko Komura, chairman of the Japan-China Parliamentarian Friendship Association.
South Korea: Fukushiro Nukaga, secretary-general of the Japan-ROK Parliamentarian Association and former finance minister.
Russia: Yoshiro Mori, former Prime Minister.
United States: The real thing.
2. Issues to avoid
Public servants on Senkaku Islands, Takeshima Day, comfort women.
He also lucked out on Dec. 19 (Wed), when Park Geun-hye won the South Korean presidential election. Had Moon Jae-in prevailed, he would have flicked away any and all Abe overtures to the until the latter had given in on Takeshima and comfort women. (Moon also would have attempted an unconditional outreach to Kim Jong Un, an act that would have disappointed Abe…and President Obama even more.)
And he bagged the stock and currency markets (and the BOJ governor) with his 2% inflation target. And he’s not even prime minister yet. He’s either very, very good, or very, very lucky or, more likely, a little bit of both—and well prepared. I’ll suspend judgment, though, until I see how he handles TPP when he calls on President Obama when the new year dawns.