By on April 30, 2010

Japanese transport minister Seiji Maehara came to Washington and called on his U.S. counterpart Ray LaHood. Both agreed “that massive recalls of Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles should not hurt the Japan-U.S. alliance and economic relations,” Japanese officials quoted by The Nikkei [sub] said.

LaHood answered Maehara that the U.S. government is treating Toyota in a fair manner, and that Washington is handling the matter based on rules. (Rimshot.) Maehara told LaHood, ”Toyota is a Japanese company as well as a U.S. company with plants in the United States.” (Rimshot.)

LaHood said that it’s all a big coincidence. It just happened to be a Japanese company that became his pet target, and that the problem would not affect the Japan-U.S. relationship at all. (Rimshot.)

It’s no secret that the Obama administration and that of Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama can’t see eye-to-eye. In a scathing analysis, The Nikkei [sub] said that “some officials in the administration of President Barack Obama are privately appalled at Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, believing that he often goes back on his word and that his government can no longer be trusted in negotiations.” Washington is “disgusted” with Hatoyama, says The Nikkei, over “a string of discouraging episodes stretching back over half a year.”

Hmmm, interesting timing. It’s the Okinawa issue.

Hatoyama’s campaign platform included language that Japan’s lockstep alignment with the U.S. foreign and defense policy should end. Ever since his party swept the LDP from power in September 2009, matters got frosty.

It’s been going from bad to worse. At the nuclear summit two weeks ago, Hatoyama was snubbed by Obama. Obama met King Abdullah II of Jordan, Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia, President Viktor Yanukovich of Ukraine, President Serzh Sargsian of Armenia, even Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. Of course he met China’s Hu Jintao. For Hatoyama, no time.

Instead, it rained invectives. The Washington Post said: “By far the biggest loser of the extravaganza was the hapless and (in the opinion of some Obama administration officials) increasingly loopy Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.” (Rimshot.)

I don’t put much credence in conspiracy theories. But I also learned to distrust coincidences.

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7 Comments on “Humorous Post Of The Day: Japan And U.S.A. Agree That All Is Well, Toyota Notwithstanding...”

  • avatar

    not USA’s fault Toyota took months to recall millions of cars

    • 0 avatar

      You need to be pretty dense not to see that this Toyota recall situation has been magnified due to political reasons.

      Ford, we should keep in mind, has recalled 16 million cars with the risk of your vehicle catching on fire, with minimal media frenzy or coverage. Certainly without the massive fear-mongering and obvious conflicts of interest.

      Moreover, the evidence linking unintended acceleration to anything beyond driver error, floor mats, or sticky pedals is dubious to non-existent. They even got NASA involved without much results.

      You would think the American principle of ‘innocence before guilt’ would dictate more factual substantiation on the root causes of SUA, over all manufacturers, before people like LaHood knowingly make premeditated comments that are self-serving to the political administration he was appointed by.

      In fact, this whole fear-mongering protectionism reeks similar to the South Korean-Japanese ban on American beef during the Mad Cow scare. Those Asian officials claimed to be looking out for the “safety of the public” when they started investigating and commenting on the quality of the American beef, but it was an obvious excuse to protect domestic agriculture.

    • 0 avatar

      They did not even need to be recalled.

  • avatar
    Geo. Levecque

    You should ask your self if all these recalls where really necessary as I think a lot of reports were the fault of the Driver,not the Vehicle, if you wish to rid the USA of Toyota manufacturing factories Mr. LaHood is going about it the right way, we here in Canada will take them of your hands, so be it!

  • avatar

    Bertel, Obama did meet Hatoyama during the nuclear summit, but it was just for 10 minutes. The meeting of other countries were also brief, but China had a meeting for a full hour. The uproar came from AL Kamen column in the Washington Post that called Hatoyama the ‘biggest loser’, which has been picked up by Hatoyama critics in Japan.

    Obviously, in politics, in public you only have nice things to say about your adversaries that you still need something from. Both the American and Japanese side will continue to say things are ‘all good’ until things really start deteriorating.

    Any cracks in the Japanese-American alliance gives China the advantage, and China is what is on both countries’ minds. Particularly the Japanese, since China has overtaken America as their #1 trading partner; something absolutely central to an export-driven country like Japan.

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