Monday, January 16, 2012

Sakakibara's smile

On January 16, Eisuke Sakakibara, Japan's former Vice Finance Minister for International Affairs during the 1990s, known as "Mr. Yen," gave a frank assessment of Japan in the international economy over a meatloaf lunch at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan.

Sakakibara sees the world headed for a major recession if not depression. To everyone's surprise he breaks out in a huge smile and notes that Japan will be the best place to weather this calamity as Japan is best country: food, environment, safety.

Europe, he believes, is in the process of disintegration, while Japan and China are integrating their economies. Thus, he is dismissive of TPP as unnecessary and views it merely as a U.S./Australian plot to benefit from this integration.

He complains that Prime Minister Noda "blindly follows the US lead." Japan must be independent and part of East Asia. It is, thus, not necessary to sanction Iran, despite any alliance.

Sakakibara concludes that in "national security is we are allies of United States; as far as the economy is concerned we are integrated with China."

[APP's nonresident fellow and Tokyo journalist, Michael Penn, provided the above clip. If you have questions or would like him to pursue other stories, please contact him directly at his Shingetsu News Agency.]

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