President Roh of Korea is visiting Japan and I was invited to attend a lunch with him today. He has been in office for about 100 days and was widely reported as being the world's first "Internet President". I wrote about it in Feb. Since then, his popularity has gone from about 60% to 40% because of difficulties in execution of domestic financial policy and constantly changing positions on the US and other issues. His trip to Japan was also very controversial back in Korea because Japan just passed a new law broadening the powers of the Japanese military's ability to defend itself on Friday. Former victims of Japanese military occupation are very negative about any expansion of the Japanese military.
I was very interested in how the Internet would play a part in his leadership and deliberations so I was anxious to meet him and ask him about Emergent Democracy. Unfortunately, the "lunch" turned out to be a pretty formal and huge lunch with 150 business leaders. There was only time for two questions and the people asking the questions were already pre-chosen. The discussion focused around free trade, helping each other's economies, China and about Korea trying to become a hub for Asia and a railroad gateway to Europe.
Mark Norbom, the CEO of GE Capital was at my table and I hadn't seen him for a long time so that was nice. Also got to see Chairman Nishimuro of Toshiba who I'd also not seen for a long time. Other than generally schmoozing around, it wasn't much fun and there definitely wasn't any emergent anything going on as far as I could tell.