Watch Obama in Japan tonight (speech schedule enclosed)


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Hi Blog.  Courtesy of Paul Toland.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

By the way,  For those of you who are following President Obama’s trip to Japan, here
are the two most important times to be watching:

1.  13 November, 7 PM (Japan Time), 5 AM (Eastern Standard Time) – President
Obama’s meeting with Prime Minister Hatoyama, to be followed by a Joint
Press Conference.  I don’t know the exact time of the press conference, but
I’m assuming it will be about an hour or so after their meeting.  I’ll be
watching for that tomorrow morning.

2.  14 November, 10 AM (Japan Time), 13 Nov 8 PM (Eastern Standard Time) –
President Obama will be making a speech at Suntory Hall in Tokyo, in which
he will discuss his view of U.S. engagement in Asia and reaffirm the
strength of Washington’s alliance with Japan.

While I doubt he will address the child abduction issue at the Speech at
Suntory Hall, I am hoping he does mention the issue at the Joint Press
Conference, or if he does not mention it, I am hoping the press will ask
about it during the Q&A.  Unfortunately, the Q&A is usually only about 3
questions from each country’s press (3 Questions from Japanese press, 3
questions from American Press).  There’s almost no chance that the Japanese
press will raise it, so let’s hope the US press will raise it within the
context of their 3 allowed questions.

The latest on the schedule (all times are Japan times):

6:50PM THE PRESIDENT and Prime Minister Hatoyama of Japan hold bilateral

7:10PM THE PRESIDENT and Prime Minister Hatoyama hold expanded bilateral

8:20PM THE PRESIDENT and Prime Minister Hatoyama hold joint press conference

8:45PM THE PRESIDENT and Prime Minister Hatoyama have dinner

That means the Press Conference will be held at 6:20 AM Eastern Standard
Time in the United States.  Paul


5 comments on “Watch Obama in Japan tonight (speech schedule enclosed)

  • Unfortunately, Obama seems to be ignoring the issue of human rights on his trips to Asia. Maybe part of his plan to present a refurbished image to the world? Compared to human rights, I think its a slim chance he’ll address the important issue of child abduction.

  • No matter what side of the political aisle you’re on, it’s usually a safe bet that a politician tends to try not to offend his audience. (OK, except for octagenarian Japanese politicians who think democracy is a silly formality to rubber-stamp their quasi-noble status)

    I believe that with Obama it is especially true. He nearly always tells his audience what they want to hear regardless of his actual plans, and regardless of what he has said to other audiences. I’m a Libertarian and I found myself agreeing with many things in some of his campaign speeches, but I just had to remind myself (as did Obama’s left-wing base, reassuring themselves that their man hadn’t really lost his faith in Socialism) that he didn’t really mean any of those things, he was just saying it to make people like him.

    Add in that he still has very little international experience, and one can assume that he doesn’t want to make waves on what is still one of his first round of trips.

    So, I assume the only chance is if someone brings up the question in the Q&A, and it surely won’t be a Japanese, since they don’t want to lose their Press Club privileges by asking a question that embarrasses Japan. Though I’d be happy to be surprised.
    Japanese questions will probably be about Okinawa, possibly about Obama printing US dollars like there’s no tomorrow and such, right?
    Can we also assume one of the questions will be about a possible Hiroshima visit? Now there’s a can of worms.

    Side note: I wonder if whichever “Japan specialist” the White House is relying on uses as a source for info? Hope so.

    — I know of at least one person in the State Department who reads quite assiduously, thanks!

  • Hopefully it will come up, somewhere. It goes without saying that the relocation of Futenma airbase will be at the top of the agenda, and will be the issue that provokes the most heated discussion. That’s the story I’ve been following more, if I’m honest.

    No politician will be too controversial in his first speech in a foreign country, and I expect Obama will waffle on about the importance of the Japanese-American alliance, even as the signs appear more clearly that it’s coming apart at the seams.

  • Amy J. Savoie says:

    I was disappointed to find no public mention of the parental abduction issue despite much googling. Am I correct that in his speech, the American President publicly asked for the return of *Japanese* abductees on behalf of a country that allows the continual kidnapping of *American* children? I am confused….am I missing something?

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