Friday, June 04, 2010

Yes we kan

The appointment today of Naoto Kan as the new Prime Minister of Japan is probably not a bad thing in the context of this month's whaling negotiations in Morocco.

Kan's administration offers some continuity with the Hatoyama administration which has been actively involved in the whale talks in the last 9 months.

Before Hatoyama's resignation there was concern that it would be hard for the former Prime Minister's extremely weakened cabinet to move on a meaningful whale conservation deal.

But now with Kan, there is a Prime Minister as strong as one could hope in the present circumstances.

Of course whales are not on top of the Prime Minister's agenda. Despite conventional belief in the West, the whaling issue in Japan is largely seen as unimportant, and most Japanese people do not really care about whether they kan or kannot eat whale meat. But exactly for this reason, whales kan be for the new Prime Minister of Japan a relatively easy way to send a positive message to the rest of the world.

Japan's whaling policy largely results from the lack of accountability and transparency of Japan's Fisheries Agency. It is good that Prime Minister Kan has a reputation for standing up to bureaucrats. And for wanting to cut the public deficit. Thus, domestically also the whale negotiations kan help the new Prime Minister deliver his programme.

I kan't help it. I've got to stay optimstic.

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