After less than a year in office, current Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has announced he will resign. Hatoyama is apparently resigning over the failure to keep a promise to move the U.S. air base on Okinawa off the island.
The base, under a 1996 agreement between Japan and the U.S., will move to northern Okinawa, further from population centers but still too close, for many Japanese citizens, for comfort.
I know crap-all about Japanese internal politics. What I do know is this: a week ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was congratulating Hatoyama on keeping his promise to the United States about the base location:
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on Monday for making a ‘‘difficult, but nevertheless correct decision’’ to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma air base within Okinawa Prefecture.
‘‘I know how hard Prime Minister Hatoyama’s decision was, and I thank him for his courage and determination to fulfill his commitments,’’ Clinton told reporters in Beijing, where she is visiting for the two-day U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing through Tuesday. ‘‘This is truly the foundation for our future work as allies in the Asia-Pacific region.’’
Well, it’s the foundation for our future work with some party not led by the guy who we were in talks with last week, I guess. I wonder how prepared for this fall out the United States State Department folks were when they initiated those “difficult” discussions with Prime Minister Hatoyama. Did they believe this wouldn’t happen? Did he?
Cross-posted from Kepkanation.com. Feel free to drop in and comment there, too.