Slices of Japanese business, politics and life
U.S. President Barack Obama will have his work cut out during his 24-hour stay in Japan from Friday as he and Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama try to soothe concerns that the decades-old alliance is fraying as the two countries adapt to China’s rise.
Other U.S. presidents have also had rough agendas in Tokyo, given a relationship historically plagued by trade spats and security angst.
But most have found time for a friendly photo op — sampling local culture or cuisine or squeezing in some exercise time.
Jimmy Carter jogged and swam at the U.S. ambassador’s residence and sampled “yakitori” chicken kebabs at a restaurant in downtown Tokyo with his family in 1979.
What’s in a name? A lot, according to one Japanese lawmaker, who’s appalled by his country’s schizophrenia over how to pronounce the two ideographs rendered in English as “Japan”.
“What is the formal name of this country? Overseas, it is called ‘Japan’, but Japanese people say both ‘Nihon’ and ‘Nippon’,” opposition parliament member Tetsundo Iwakuni told me.