December 8, 2013
Shinzo Abe makes last-minute lobbying on behalf of Tokyo in IOC
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived here yesterday afternoon from the G20 summit in St. Petersburg and shrugged off jet lag to plunge immediately into some last-minute lobbying on behalf of Tokyo for today’s International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision on the future venue of the 2020 Games.
Yesterday the Herald had the chance to be briefed on fuller details of Abe’s Thursday G-20 meeting with President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (mentioned in yesterday’s Herald).
According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Assistant Press Secretary Masaru Sato, there were three main themes — economics, Syria and the Olympics.
CFK congratulated the Japanese leader on his “heterodox” policies of growth by stimulus (also known as Abenomics), in keeping with her own approach of growing in order to be able to pay debt, and welcomed the prospect of increased Japanese investment in Argentina.
In reply, Abe described the two economies as complementary and explained that his own policies were aimed at breaking out of a deflationary spiral, not so much crisis in Japan’s case. He also expressed concern over the resultant debts.
Over Syria CFK seemed more interested in the Japanese stance than in expressing views of her own. Abe said that Japan was extremely sensitive over chemical and other weapons of mass destruction because of its own experience of the 1995 sarin attack in the Tokyo Underground, because of its own neighbourhood including North Korea and because of the threats posed by terrorism in general, making Syria’s behaviour an unacceptable precedent. Japan was thus a partisan of firm action and supportive of United States President Barack Obama but for now its initiatives were purely humanitarian — 95 million dollars in direct assistance for Syrian refugees and a 120-million-dollar soft loan to Jordan (where countless refugees have fled).
On the Olympics, Abe congratulated CFK on securing the 2018 Youth Olympics for Buenos Aires while the Argentine president wished him luck with his own bid.
To this briefing, Sato wished to add that the Japanese delegation included two royals (Princesses Akiko and Sako), also underlining the fact that the three visits made to Latin America by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida already this year (taking in five countries) shows an intensified Japanese interest in the region.