I was up in Tokyo over the weekend for a very special event. One thing never ceases to amaze me about Tokyo: the amount of people! Besides the regular throngs of shoppers, goths and ugly maids this weekend was particularly crowded as the Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao was in town. This is the first time in six years a Chinese prime minister has visited Japan. There was a heavy police presence on the ground around the Diet and the Imperial Palace.
Chinese and Japanese flags were on display near the Imperial Palace.
The Indian Navy was also in town preparing for a trilateral naval exercise with Japan and the US on April 17th. Announced at the end of last month, this “large-scale maritime exercise” is the first of its kind. It was originally scheduled to be executed before the Wen visit, but was pushed back. India has been careful to calm suspicions that this is some sort of show of strength. The Assistant Chief of Naval staff stressed, “We are not engaging in these deployments to pass messages to any country nor will it be a regular exercise.” Speak Victorian and think pagan, right?
The naval exercise is particularly interesting because of recent talk that there will be an official visit to Japan by the Chinese navy later this year. Can you imagine seeing a ship flying a Chinese flag pull into Tokyo Bay?