Tokyo with Mr. Eto
Meeting with Mrs Suzuki and then went to Mr Eto’s office. Met with his team.
The first part of the day was to visit the National Diet. I was lucky to assist to the debate on the budget with all the ministers.
Later on I had a lecture on the national diet and more precisely on the House of Representatives (of which Mr Eto is the vice-speaker).
The Diet building is perfectly symmetrical; the South wing holds the House of Representatives and the North wing the House of Counsellors. The centre of the diet building The National diet is composed of the:
House of Representatives (480 members)
House of Councellors (242 members).
In case of disagreement between both chambers the House of Representatives holds the ultimate power. In addition each member of the Diet has to stand in a committee.
The actual diet was created in 1946 in replacement of the 1st parliament created in 1890.
Throughout the lecture I understood that even if you are elected for a 4-year mandate the prime minister can dissolve the Parliament hence the average life expectancy of a parliament is 2 years and a half.
The repartition of power is done as follows:
Diet ➔ Legislative power
Courts ➔ Judiciary
Cabinet ➔ Executive.
In conclusion, the Japanese National Diet was very strongly influenced by the American Congress.
Day 2- 10/07/2012.
Worked on promoting Mr Eto’s image on social medias.
Then I visited the 9th largest library in the world (with over 14m books).
Then I met with researches who issue reports for the parliamentarians. We had a thorough conversation about Japanese politics and about the role of nuclear weapons in the actual world.
Later I met with Mr Eto and we spoke about the main differences between the ministry of foreign affairs and ministry of defence. He rightly claimed that both went hand in hand. This made me take a different approach to working in the defence field. It made me really understand what defence was about, and has taught me not to underestimate the role of diplomacy within the defence field.
Day 3 – 11/07/2012.
Continued working on promoting Mr Eto’s image on social medias.
Then we went to visit the MOD. I met with Mr Suzuki who is in charge of the realignment of the American troops. He explained that the Self-defence forces of Japan could not be present in any other country; this is why Japan only holds the role of observer in Nato conferences. He also explained that Japanese military industries were prohibited to export their technologies or to sell abroad (this shocked me as Japan buys from foreign companies but its companies cannot sell abroad). This led me to see a sort of continuous foreign imperialism on Japan. To a certain extent Mr Suzuki agreed with me, arguing that in the current financial situation of Japan selling defence industry abroad would be a good resource of money.
We then visited the Ministry of Defence built in 2000.
Later on I visited the headquarters of the Liberal-Democratic party (opposition party since 2009). I then had a brief lecture about the past and history of the LDP.
Went back to Mr Eto’s office and met with Mr Kuroe who was Mr Eto’s undersecretary at the MOD in 1995. We discussed about Japanese defence forces, and he offered me that his main actual concern was Iran. We then talked about the role of Japan in the International community and ended the discussion on talking about the post-1945 Japan.
This was the end of my three days ‘internship’.