Friday, August 12, 2011

New FM Surapong is a man in great hurry

Thailand's new foreign minister, Surapong Towijakchaikul, is a man in great hurry indeed. One day after the Yingluck Cabinet was sworn in, he met Japanese ambassador Seiji Kojima to ask him to request Japanese authorities to issue a special entry permit to Thaksin Shinawatra.

Kyodo news agency said "multiple sources" confirmed that the Japanese government is apparently considering whether to have its Justice Ministry issue Thaksin the special visa.

We haven't heard from Surapong so far. But in the past few days since he has been made foreign minister, his responses to reporters' questions about whether to let Thaksin have his Thai passport back have been evasive, to say the least.

He didn't say No. He didn't say he would consult concerned authorities. He did say: "I have to consider whether Khun Thaksin has been fairly treated or not."

Thaksin is said to plan to visit Japan during Aug 22-28 in areas in Miyagi prefecture of northern Japan which were devastaed by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. He may also deliver a lecture somewhere if he can make it to Japan.

Japan's immigration law says that a foreigner convicted of breaking a law and sentenced to imprisonment of one year or more will not be given permission to enter Japan.

But then, the law also makes an exception for those convicted for political offences.The justice minister has the final say in each individual case.

Premier Yingluck was asked by reporters yesterday about Thaksin's getting back his passport.

She was cautious in her reply: "I think we should let things run their proper course."

She has certainly learned the ropes of political language: saying something to say nothing.

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