Sunday, April 22, 2018

Monday in Washington, April 23, 2018

CENTRAL BANK INDEPENDENCE REVISITED. 4/23, 11:00am-1:00pm, Webcast. Sponsor: PIIE. Speakers: Ed Balls, Research Fellow, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government, Harvard University; Anna Stansbury, PhD Scholar, Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy, Harvard University; Hon. Lawrence H. Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor, Harvard University; Adam S. Posen, President, PIIE.

ADVOCACY FOR SOUTH KOREA’S INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: ESCAPE FROM DEVELOPMENTALISM AND ASIANIZATION OF NORDIC DEVELOPMENT AID WITH TAEKYOON KIM. 4/23, 3:00-5:00pm. Sponsor: Institute for Korean Studies, Elliott School, GWU. Speaker: Dr. Taekyoon Kim, Associate Professor of International Development, Former Associate Dean for International Affairs, Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University.

AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT: SMART INVESTING FOR GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY. 4/23, 4:00-5:00pm. Sponsor: Brookings. Speakers: Gilbert F. Houngbo, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development; Karen Brooks, Director, Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets, International Food Policy Research Institute; Julie Howard, Senior Adviser, Global Food Security Project, CSIS, Senior Adviser to the Associate Provost, Dean for International Studies and Programs, Michigan State University. Moderator: Johannes F. Linn, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Brookings.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Monday in Washington, April 16, 2018


click to order

COMEY WEEK IN WASHINGTON


BIG IS BEAUTIFUL: DEBUNKING THE MYTH OF SMALL BUSINESS. 4/16, 9:00-10:30am. Sponsor: Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). Authors: Robert D. Atkinson, President, ITIF; Michael Lind, Visiting Professor, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas. Moderator: Edward Luce, Washington Commentator, Financial Times.
click to order
ALLIED AEROSPACE POWER. 4/16, 9:30-11:00am, Arlington, VA. Sponsor: Mitchell Institute. Speakers: Gen. David Goldfein, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff; ACM. Stephen Hillier, Royal Air Force Chief of the Air Staff.
click to order
REPUBLIC IN PERIL: AMERICAN EMPIRE AND THE LIBERAL TRADITION. 4/16, 11:00am-12:30pm, Lunch, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Cato. Author: David C. Hendrickson, Professor of Political Science, Colorado College. Speaker: Michael Mandelbaum, Professor Emeritus, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. Moderator: John Mueller, Senior Fellow, Cato.  

click to order
SOUTH ASIA'S DEVELOPMENT IN THE CONTEXT OF CHINA-INDIA RIVALRY. 4/16, 12:30-2:00pm, Lunch, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Sasakawa USA. Speaker: Keiichiro Nakazawa, Director General, South Asia Department, Japan International Cooperation Agency. Moderator: Amb. James Zumwalt, CEO, Sasakawa USA.
ATAMBAYEV RETURNS: WHAT NEXT FOR KYRGYZSTAN? 4/16, 2:00-3:30pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Russia and Eurasia Program, CSIS. Speaker: Venera Djumataeva, Director, Kyrgyz Service, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Moderator: Jeffrey Mankoff, Deputy Director & Senior Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program, CSIS.
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT IN CONVERSATION WITH JEFFREY GOLDBERG. 4/16, 7:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsors: The Atlantic; Politics and Prose Bookstore; Sixth & I. Speakers: Madeleine Albright, Former US Secretary of State, author Fascism: A Warning; Jeffrey Goldberg, Editor-in-Chief, The Atlantic.

Can Abe stop the Trump-Kim Summit?

Shut out of North Korea summit talks, Shinzo Abe may move to shut them down
By Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University

South China Morning Post
, 15 April 2018

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is alarmed by diplomatic developments related to the denuclearisation of North Korea and is desperate to get involved in the talks so he can sabotage them. Whatever happened to regime change? From Abe’s perspective, treating Kim Jong-un as an equal is rewarding bad behaviour in ways that might imperil Japan’s security. He might find support for his hardline stance from John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, who has advocated attacking North Korea.

But Trump began his presidency by pulling the plug on the Trans-Pacific Partnership anyway, sparking concerns that Trump’s “America first” doctrine would cede power and influence to China in Asia and spark trade wars. Yet, on security, Abe got much of what he wanted, a US leader who would stand up to China and North Korea, and endorse Japan’s concept of a free and open Indo-Pacific region to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

But subsequent setbacks for Abe’s personal diplomacy with Trump underscore the risks of relying on an erratic and unreliable leader. First, Trump took aim at China by imposing tariffs on steel and aluminium imports that hurt its closest allies more than Beijing. Abe pleaded for an exemption to no avail, but is hoping he can convince Trump to relent when they meet in person.

But it was Trump’s abrupt volte face regarding talks with North Korea that left Abe chagrined and isolated. He was comprehensively outmanoeuvred and upstaged by South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s diplomacy and was marginalised by the summitry of the North Korean leader, who first met South Korean envoys, then China’s President Xi Jinping, and plans to meet Moon on April 27 and then Trump in May or June.

It was a bitter pill for Abe to watch Seoul’s envoys announce to the world from the portico of the White House that Trump had agreed to meet with Kim, after trying so hard to be his Asian interlocutor. Abe had remained steadfast in his hardline anti-dialogue stance and thought he was on the same page as Trump – until he wasn’t.

Abe has remained out of sync, trying to make Japan relevant to a process that he opposes while pushing South Korea and the US to insist on Kim coming clean on the fate of dozens of Japanese kidnapped by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s who remain unaccounted for.

Abe’s political rise is closely associated with being an advocate for these abductees, and it is an important human rights issue, but other actors prioritise averting cataclysm on the Korean peninsula. North Korea has let it be known that it considers the abductee issue resolved and opposes having it on the agenda. Foreign Minister Taro Kono visited Seoul to lobby for South Korean support but came away empty-handed.

Abe’s stance gains no traction with Korean or Chinese counterparts, who wonder if he is more interested in scuttling the talks than making progress on denuclearisation, a replay of the doomed six-party talks (2003-2009) that Japan held hostage to the abduction issue. Abe’s main concern is that the talks might effectively normalise North Korea’s nuclear capability.

Recent changes in the White House convey even more disarray in Team Trump but may bode well for Abe. Trump fired national security adviser H.R. McMaster and secretary of state Rex Tillerson, voices of moderation on North Korea, and picked hardliners Bolton and Mike Pompeo to replace them. They are likely to be more supportive of Abe on abductees and Trump could use the human rights angle to vilify Kim and derail talks.

Abe’s worst nightmare is that the denuclearisation talks drag on inconclusively, with Kim making some concessions but not handing over the keys to the nuclear vault and in some way normalising North Korea as a nuclear power.

Tokyo does not believe that Kim’s charm offensive is aimed at North Korea unilaterally relinquishing its nuclear arsenal and allowing international inspectors to verify compliance by granting them unfettered access. Trump may hope that can be negotiated, but during his pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago next week, Abe will make the case that this is to fundamentally misread the situation.

Japan worries that some quid pro quo may be worked out that requires reciprocal drawn-out steps by the United States and North Korea to relinquish nuclear weapons, and that part of the deal would require the US to remove the nuclear umbrella of extended deterrence that currently applies to South Korea and Japan. Abe hopes to convince Trump that talks are a waste of time, risky due to unrealistic expectations on both sides, and that Kim is untrustworthy. That should not be too hard.

So while Moon’s peace express is steaming out of the station with everyone scrambling to get aboard, Abe wants to push the emergency stop button on this diplomacy. 

In doing so, he offers Trump a useful escape hatch, enabling him to say he tried diplomacy and blame Kim while resuming the fire-and-fury brinkmanship that he and his new advisers are more comfortable with. US Secretary of Defence James Mattis will have his hands full as the remaining adult supervisor to see what this window of opportunity offers.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Monday in Washington, April 9, 2018


RUSSIA AND THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS AFTER 20 YEARS. 4/9, 9:30-11:00am. Sponsor: Wilson Center (WWC). Speakers: Marina Agaltsova, Galina Starovoitova Fellow on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution, Attorney at Law, Human Rights Center; Maria Issaeva, Threefold Legal Advisers, Moscow; Member, Executive board, European Society of International Law; author Lauri Mälksoo, Fellow, Professor of International Law, University of Tartu, Estonia.  https://amzn.to/2GJeu1s

THE DOOMSDAY MACHINE: CONFESSIONS OF A NUCLEAR WAR PLANNER. 4/9, 11:30-2:30pm. Sponsors: Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia (PISA), Leadership, Ethics, and Practice Initiative, Elliott School, GWU; Nuclear Security Working Group. Author: Daniel Ellsberg.

EXPLORES CHINA’S LEADERSHIP GOALS AND PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS. 4/9, Noon. Sponsor: Public Diplomacy Alumni Association. Speakers: Christopher Walker, Vice President for Studies and Analysis, National Endowment for Democracy; Robert Daly, Director, Kissinger Institute, Wilson Center. Fee.

ITALY’S THREAT TO THE EURO. 4/9, 2:30-4:30pm. Sponsor: AEI. Speakers: Alberto Alesina, Nathaniel Ropes Professor of Political Economy, Harvard University; Michele Boldrin, Hoyt Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences, Department of Economics, Washington University in St. Louis; Erik Jones, Director, European and Eurasian Studies, Professor of European Studies and International Political Economy, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University; Desmond Lachman, Resident Fellow, AEI. Moderator: Stan Veuger, Resident Scholar, AEI.

DON'T COPY THAT FLOPPY! CHINESE THEFT OF U.S. MILITARY TECHNOLOGIES. 4/9, 3:30-4:30pm. Sponsor: Organization of Asian Studies, Elliott School, GWU. Speakers include: Terry Dunlap, CEO, ReFirm Labs; Bill Gertz, National Security Columnist, Washington Times, Senior Editor, Washington Free Beacon; Dr. Stephen Bryen, Founder, Defense Technology Security Administration.

WHAT'S NEXT IN THE MIDDLE EAST? PUBLIC OPINION AND THE CRISIS OF LEADERSHIP IN ISRAEL, PALESTINE AND THE UNITED STATES. 4/9, 5:00-7:00pm, Dinner. Sponsors: Elliott School, GWU; OneVoice Movement. Speakers: Dahlia Scheindlin, Policy Fellow, MITVIM Institute; Obada Shtayeh, Regional Director, OneVoice Movement; Nathan Brown, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, Director, Institute for Middle East Studies, Elliott School, GWU. Moderator: Ned Lazarus, Visiting Professor of International Affairs, Elliott School, GWU.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND THE FUTURE OF WORK. 4/9, 5:30-7:00pm, Washington, DC. Sponsor: Institute for International Economic Policy, Elliott School, GWU. Speaker: Martin Fleming, Chief Economist, Vice President, Business Performance Services, IBM.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Unshared values with Japan

Japan’s Indo-Pacific strategy falls short

Japan’s Values-Free and Token Indo-Pacific Strategy


BY James D.J. Brown, associate professor of political science at Temple University, Japan Campus.

THE DIPLOMAT, April 3, 2018

The Free and Open Indo-Pacific has become one of the key concepts in Japan’s contemporary foreign policy. Foreign Minister Taro Kono has included it as one of his six priorities, and Japan has worked hard to convince other countries, including the United Kingdom and France, to endorse it. However, while the principled rhetoric about the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) may sound appealing, Japan’s actions raise questions about whether the strategy is really anything more than window dressing for the pursuit of Japan’s narrow economic and strategic interests.

The main aim of Japan’s FOIP is to promote connectivity between Asia, the Middle East and Africa. This means that the strategy is closely related to promoting free trade, infrastructure investment and development. It is therefore no surprise that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe chose the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) as the venue for his first major speech on this topic in August 2016. This economic focus makes FOIP distinct from “the Quad,” a fledgling security dialogue between Japan, Australia, India, and the United States.

Japan’s enthusiasm for FOIP derives from the recognition that, due to its shrinking domestic population, Japanese economic growth will increasingly depend on access to overseas markets. However, the international rules-based order that has made free trade possible is under threat both from an assertive China and from a U.S. administration that appears unwilling to defend the very system that underpins its national prosperity. Washington’s negligence has therefore encouraged Tokyo to do more itself to uphold this rules-based order.

A related motivation is that the Abe administration has identified infrastructure exports as a priority for reviving the Japanese economy. The development of a joint regional infrastructure scheme that is connected with FOIP could therefore assist Japan to expand exports to countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, especially if Chinese competitors are excluded. It was announced in February that just such a infrastructure scheme is already being discussed by Japan, Australia, India and America.

Freedom and openness

Although Japan certainly has its own motivations, FOIP is presented as being for the benefit of all. Specifically, a system in which international maritime areas remain a global commons, which are governed by the rule of law and not might-makes-right, will allow small and large trading states to flourish alike.

Further to supporting the freedom of navigation enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Japan claims that other values are central to FOIP. This was made clear in Abe’s initial TICAD speech in which he stated that “Japan bears the responsibility of fostering the confluence of the Pacific and Indian Oceans and of Asia and Africa into a place that values freedom, the rule of law, and the market economy, free from force or coercion, and making it prosperous.”

Abe continued by stressing the role that democratic principles had played in Asia’s growth and that the same values should underpin development in other regions. This “values-oriented diplomacy” was also a feature of Abe’s first administration (2006-2007), when the favored concept was the soon-forgotten “arc of freedom and prosperity.”

Although denied by the Japanese leadership, FOIP is clearly intended as a competitor to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which also seeks to connect Asia with neighboring regions via large-scale infrastructure projects. By emphasizing freedom and openness, as well as higher project standards, Tokyo is attempting to differentiate its strategy from that of Beijing. This rhetoric is also an attempt to give FOIP greater legitimacy, partially compensating for the fact that it is far behind the BRI in terms of financing and concrete achievements.

Tokyo’s superficial values

There is no question that a genuinely free and open Indo-Pacific would be preferable to an initiative dominated by a single authoritarian state. However, to boldly claim a commitment to a values-based foreign policy is to invite a scrutiny that finds Tokyo wanting due to its ambivalent support for international law and democratic values.

With regard to maritime law, while Japan has been outspoken in its criticism of China’s island building in the South China Sea, this has not prevented it from doing something similar at Okinotori, a small atoll located 1,600 km south of Tokyo. The Japanese government has spent over $600 million reinforcing and expanding the small rocks of the atoll in order to keep them above the water line. It now claims that Okinotori is an island and entitled to a 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone — even though UNCLOS specifically states that only natural islands that can sustain human habitation will generate EEZs.

Japan has demonstrated similar disregard for international law in its continuation of whaling despite a 2014 ruling by the International Court of Justice. This found that Japan’s supposed research program in the Antarctic was in violation of the moratorium on commercial whaling.

Japan could also be criticized for its absurdist claim that there is no territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands, which are claimed by China as the Diaoyu Islands. The reason for this is because Tokyo does not wish to engage in negotiations. Were the Japanese government really committed to the international rule of law, it could invite China to take the case to the International Court of Justice. In fact, this is precisely what Japan demands of South Korea with regard to the disputed territory of Dokdo/Takeshima. Tokyo’s support for international arbitration is therefore highly selective.

Likewise, it is hard to take the Japanese government’s commitment to democratic values too seriously given Abe’s chummy relationship with President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, whose “war on drugs” has left more than 12,000 people dead. Also, while the United States has cut aid to both Thailand and Cambodia in response to democratic backsliding, Japan has continued to court these countries for both political and economic reasons.

Most striking has been the Abe administration’s reluctance to criticize Myanmar for the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya minority that is being conducted by the country’s military. Indeed, during a visit to the country in February, Kentaro Sonoura, a special advisor to Abe, stated that the “Tatmadaw [Myanmar’s armed forces] has an important role in consolidating democracy in Myanmar.” He also praised the countries’ ongoing defense cooperation.

Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific concept could constitute a positive contribution to the whole region if it genuinely offers a more principled and law-based alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. For this to be the case, however, Tokyo must first demonstrate that its commitment to international law and democratic values is more than just a convenient fig leaf.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Monday in Washington, March 26, 2018

WILL THE RUSSIANS MEDDLE IN LATIN AMERICAN ELECTIONS? 3/26, 9:30-11:00am. Sponsor: Americas Program, CSIS. Speakers: Javier Lesaca, Visiting Scholar, School of Media and Public Affairs, GWU; David Salvo, Resident Fellow, Alliance for Securing Democracy, German Marshall Fund; Evan Ellis, Senior Associate, Americas Program, CSIS. Moderator: Richard Miles, Senior Fellow, Deputy Director, Americas Program, CSIS, Director, U.S.-Mexico Futures Initiative.

click to order
CHINA AT WAR. 3/26, 10:00-11:15am. Sponsors: Kissinger Institute, Wilson Center. Speakers: J. Stapleton Roy, Founding Director, Distinguished Scholar, Founding Director Emeritus, Kissinger Institute, Wilson Center; author, Hans van de Ven, Professor of Modern Chinese History, Cambridge University. Moderator: Robert Daly, Director, Kissinger Institute, Wilson Center.

A FUNDAMENTALIST’S APPROACH TO NUCLEAR NONPROLIFERATION AND NUCLEAR-WEAPONS REDUCTIONS: GET RID OF THE FISSILE MATERIAL! 3/26, NOON–1:30pm. Sponsor: GW, Institute for International Science and Technology Policy. Speaker: Frank Von Hippel, Professor, Princeton University.

U.S. IN A POST-ISIS IRAQ AND SYRIA: REALIGNING ALLIES AND CONSTRAINING ADVERSARIES. 3/26, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Hudson. Speakers: Michael Pregent, Adjunct Fellow, Hudson; Hillel Fradkin, Senior Fellow, Hudson; Jennifer Cafarella; Senior Intelligence Planner, Institute for the Study of War; Dr. Nahro Zagros; Vice President, Soran University, Iraq.

click to order
MOBILIZING WITHOUT THE MASSES: CONTROL AND CONTENTION IN CHINA - A DISCUSSION WITH DR. DIANA FU. 3/26, Noon-2:00pm. Sponsor: Sigur Center, Elliott School, GWU. Speaker: author Diana Fu, Assistant Professor of Asian Politics, University of Toronto.

THE FUTURE OF FINANCIAL REGULATION: A CONVERSATION WITH NEW YORK FEDERAL RESERVE PRESIDENT BILL DUDLEY. 3/26, Noon-2:00pm, Lunch. Sponsor: Center for Capital Market Competitiveness, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Speaker: Bill Dudley, President, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

THE AGE OF EISENHOWER: AMERICA AND THE WORLD IN THE 1950s. 3/26, 4:00-5:30pm. Sponsor: Washington History Seminar, Wilson Center. Speakers: Author, William Hitchcock, Professor of History, University of Virginia Eric Arnesen, Fellow, Professor of History, The George Washington University; Philippa Strum, Global Fellow, Former Director, Division of United States Studies, Woodrow Wilson Center.


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Wither Osaka


A storm appears to be headed toward Osaka. As the article below notes, domestic politics may not long favor the city. The Moritomo Gakuen scandal is centered on Osaka and its ultra-rightwing politics. Osaka is also the epicenter of Japan's denier history toward the Comfort Women. Successive majors have been outspoken deniers of Pacific War history—even threatening to end the sister city relationship with San Francisco over the American city’s refusal to accept the Osaka mayors' false and pernicious construction of Comfort Women history.

The Abe's government has shown extraordinary favoritism to the region and its politicians who have helped the LDP maintain their Diet majority. Recently, Tokyo selected Osaka to be the host city for the G20 leaders summit in 2019. The government is also promoting Osaka to the Bureau of International Expositions to be the site for Expo 2025. By doing this, Tokyo is demanding that the rest of the world ignore the region's infamous war history and its modern deniers. 

A new Japanese government will not be able to long tolerate Osaka as a world outlier.


Moritomo scandal threatens Osaka leaders too
By Eric Johnston, Staff Writer

Japan Times, March 17, 2018

OSAKA – “A man once thoroughly endued with these three qualities of lying, impudence, and ingratitude will, I believe, scarce want any other titles to preferment and grandeur.” — Henry Fielding, from a satirical article on the traits of successful politicians, 1740

Over a year after it first blew up in Osaka, then went to Tokyo and languished, the Moritomo Gakuen scandal came roaring back with a vengeance earlier this month, shaking Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration to the core.

The “Teflon prime minister,” as Abe is dubbed by critics and admirers for his political durability, may finally have run out of luck. His finance minister, Taro Aso, whose ministry admitted it rewrote, deleted, or falsified records related to the scandal is facing intense pressure from the opposition, and members of his own party, to resign — and soon.

Without his friend Aso by his side, Abe will head into the September elections for Liberal Democratic Party president (and thus prime minister) weakened and a lame duck unlikely to be granted a third consecutive term — all because of a scandal that just would not go away.

The key questions still unanswered boil down to who gave the school an unprecedented discount on the land it wanted, why Moritomo received special treatment, who decided to give it that treatment and who was involved in the subsequent “editing” of ministry documents.

At the national level, those questions involve the prime minister and his wife, the finance minister and senior Finance Ministry officials and at least three Diet members. They include Takeo Hiranuma, the ultra-right-wing Liberal Democratic Party representative from Okayama, LDP veteran Yoshitada Konoike, a scandal-plagued politician from neighboring Hyogo Prefecture, and former Upper House LDP lawmaker Issei Kitagawa, who is from Osaka. Former Moritomo head Yasunori Kagoike’s claim that he was betrayed by lying, impudent, ungrateful politicians and bureaucrats sounds a bit more credible now.

But one influential politician of interest to Osaka was not in the documents: Osaka Gov. Ichiro Matsui.

Given that, in Diet testimony, Kagoike alleged the person who betrayed him the most was Matsui, Osaka’s media are now aggressively pursuing the Moritomo Gakuen “Osaka angle.” And they are asking what might have been going on between Matsui, the Kinki bureau of the Finance Ministry, Abe, Aso, Hiranuma and their friends in the conservative lobby group Japan Conference (Nippon Kaigi), reference to which was also originally deleted from Finance Ministry documents.

Matsui insists he had nothing to do with influencing the Kinki bureau to cut a deal with Kagoike and no evidence has surfaced to suggest otherwise. But, politically, he has two problems.

The first is local. More questions about Moritomo makes it ever more difficult for Matsui and his supporters to realize their integration of Osaka city, which is once again under discussion and still faces intense opposition.

The second problem is Osaka’s relationship — and the Nippon Ishin no Kai party’s relationship — with the Abe wing of the LDP.

If a splintering LDP leads to Abe stepping down, either now or later, then Matsui and Nippon Ishin must deal with another prime minister, one likely to be less friendly.

Various LDP leaders are now garnering attention as possible successors to Abe. They include former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Internal Affairs Minister Seiko Noda. In Osaka, Ishiba, who is from Tottori Prefecture and has strong connections in the Kansai region, has already reached out to younger LDP members who are battling with Matsui and Nippon Ishin (some of whom are former LDP members).

How all of this plays out depends on what additional revelations there are about the Moritomo scandal. But in Osaka, as well as Tokyo, politicians and bureaucrats are running for cover, desperate to avoid a resurgent scandal most thought had long since been overcome.