Yesterday we reported that Japan’s Ambassador to China would be replaced, in a hardening of Japan’s stance in the Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute. Japan is now also replacing its ambassadors to South Korea and the United States as well, completely retooling its diplomacy. The Daily Yomiuri has the story:
The government plans to appoint Vice Foreign Minister Kenichiro Sasae as ambassador to the United States and name Koro Bessho, deputy foreign minister, as ambassador to South Korea, to rebuild increasingly strained bilateral relations, according to sources.
China, America, and South Korea are Japan’s top three trading partners (in that order). Maintaining good relations with them is crucial for Japan’s ailing economy. Japan has recently run into trouble on all three fronts, with worsening island disputes with South Korea and China and protests over the basing of U.S. Osprey aircraft on Okinawa.The Democratic Party of Japan, whose election victory in 2009 ushered in the first change of power in Japan in half a century, campaigned on the platform of transforming politics, limiting the power of the bureaucracy, and promoting a business-oriented policy. The fact that the DPJ-appointed private sector ambassador to China is being replaced with a career bureaucrat suggests that the party’s early experiments with this transformation are not going well. The bureaucrats of the LDP appear to be firmly back in power in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.