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Once more, a Meeting...


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Sometimes, Akiyama Kagami just hated her job. Sometimes, it was just gruelling, painful and frustrating. Having to make sure that her nation was secure, not falling behind, that its interests were attented to and maybe at times making some gains, just to have some positive experiences as well... it was quite tiring. And while her post as Prime Minister paid quite decently, it also was still behind the wages of the management of some larger bank or industrial corporation. But then, this was the position Akiyama had, which she felt responsible for and which she deemed, noone else could do adequately. This was were she was needed, to make sure everything went alright and her country had a future. And while the pay was not the greatest, it definitely allowed for affluence and the public attention was quite nice... well, most of the times it was nice.

 

Akiyama pondered on her position in silence, as she waited in her office in the Kantei. Sitting more comfortably in one corner of the room that had been set for a nice afternoon tea, with several comfy seats around a small table, the Prime Minister awaited her guest. Usually, she hated having to deal with business during her afternoon tea break, but this time, it just fitted there best and so Akiyama made an exception. She just prayed that it'd not be too bad. Most likely, she'd take a break later, when the situation had calmed down some. A nice short break from work. After all, even an elected leader should be able to look after themselves from time to time and when it was no emergency, one could trust the administration to actually do what they were paid for. Her mind drifted off a bit, when suddenly Tsukino cut into her field of vision, putting down the steaming hot tea pot before her. "The tea water is ready, Akiyama-dono. When will our guest arrive?"

 

"Huh, eh, what? Ah, any minute now. You could show them the way.", the Prime Minister responded, somewhat surprised, as she was torn away from her dream world. Tsukino merely bowed and left for the front door, to await the American President. As she closed the door, Akiyama sighed. She really should take a break for once. But that would need to wait for now.

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Ashton made sure that his agenda was cleared for the following two days. What happened in Georgia was a national tragedy, no doubt, it warranted a reform in safety standards/regulations for the chemical industry; however, it more importantly highlighted an overall need for the regeneration of infrastructure in the United States. The North East, compared to the former States in the old Union, had the best of both worlds. Roads and public transportation had been vital and tended to for nearly a century in the region, but urban areas didn't always fall into this generalization. As White House staffers and analysts started looking into the costs of rebuilding its torn up roads, it became clear that the problem could not be totally fixed and funds would need to be allocated to the highest priorities. On board Air Force One, this is what the President and members of his administration discussed between America's political attitude towards Japan.

 

Americans themselves were generally appreciative of the Japanese government for overthrowing the American Commonwealth. The educated class continuously highlighted the selflessness of the Japanese liberating America and how they gained nothing for the massive military operation. Ashton was skeptical about that. A weaker, less unified America benefited everyone who wasn't American. The threat that the American Commonwealth posed to Japan was seemingly minimal, but influence that the Japanese held after the collapse of the commonwealth had increased ten fold. They were the de facto administrator and "hero" of over four-hundred million people. That was a large award to wear around their necks, but it meant nothing if America stayed in a state of disarray. Perhaps that is why the Japanese were trying so hard to make America "work" instead of leaving it in disrepair. Their reputation was at stake. Or, assuming the best in them, maybe they felt a sense of honor and duty to help Americans. If that were so, then the overthrow of the American Commonwealth may have been the single biggest act of political charity in human history. 

 

"What are you thinking about, Mister President?" Vice President Mark Anderson stood in the door frame of the president's on board office. "Mark? What are you doing here?" Mark smiled and closed the door behind him. He took a seat across for the President and checked his watch. "Well, since we flew over Hawaii about twenty minutes ago I don't think there's any going back unless you think we should flake on the Japanese again. So does it really matter?" Ashton rubbed his chin and shook his head, "Despite the Senate being on a short recess, your office does still holding some meaning and usefulness. Why didn't you stay in Washington? How did you get on board without anyone telling me?" Mark redundantly adjusted his watch as they crossed into a new timezone, only having a few more to go.

 

"I talked to Fletcher a few days ago and told him personally that you wanted me added to the flight list. I guess Fletcher trusts me?" Ashton made a mental note to tell Special Agent Fletcher not to trust the Vice President. "I doubt you just felt like taking a long flight. Have you always wanted to visit Asia?" 

"No, Mister President. Despite our very legitimate reason for cancelling our last meeting with the Japanese, I'm sure they were either greatly offended or greatly annoyed by it. I think that going along with you, as the President of the United States Senate, will at least show that we think this meeting is important. That way you don't have to tell them at the meeting, 'Oh well I hope the Senate approves this!' I can tell her to her face that I'll see to it that whatever they propose makes it through the Senate. I also know more about Asia, and Japan specifically, than you do. Our people haven't done especially well in the past few months with being culturally sensitive to the Japanese. I'm sure they think we're inferior." 

 

"It doesn't really sound like you are asking for permission," Ashton noted as he offered the Vice President a beer. "I serve at the pleasure of the President, sir." Ashton let out a brief laugh and nodded.  "Thanks for the offer, but I'll be fine on my own. I don't need you showing me up. Let's wait eight years until you try making foreign policy, hm?" Mark frowned and started playing with his watch again until the President carried on. "Hey, did you notice the Prime Minister's seal on that letter she sent me? I had it forwarded to your office."

"What about it?" 

"I don't know. It made me feel... I don't know. I liked something about it." 

 

Brian Reedy, the President's Chief of Staff, knocked on the door. "Come in!" Brian came in with a paper in his hands, "Mister President..." he looked at Mark. "Unless you're hear to tell me that legal confirmed we can tap the Vice President's phone, I don't think we have anything to hide from him." Brian handed over a brief report to the President who then handed it the Vice President. "The CIA says the central government for the Confederate States is collapsing right now. In a few hours they'll just be back in anarchy like everyone else." Mark looked down and didn't say anything. Ashton shook his head, "This ought to make things more interesting." 

 

Several Hours Later

 

Air Force One landed in Japan after a smooth flight from Washington D.C.  His motorcade had been flown in by the Air Force a day earlier which allowed the President mobility and less strain on the Japanese while there. They only had to provide a police escort. After a short car ride, the President had made his way to the Prime Minister's office. The Vice President stayed on board Air Force One. Once the Prime Minister and he made eye contact, he gave a respectful bow and extended his hand. "Prime Minister, it's a honor to finally meet. Your reputation precedes Your Excellency." 

Edited by PresidentDavid
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As the President arrived, Tsukino gracefully bowed and stepped aside t move into the background and prepare the tea leaves. Akiyama meanwhile stood up and with a friendly smile greeted President Coolidge. "Thanks for your kind words, though I think my reputation is more of a mixed blessing these days. It is good to meet you personally though, Mister President. I hope the journey was not too harsh, given it is a trip all the way across the Pacific. Hopefully I've not been calling you away from anything too important." She then gestured at a number of seats opposite of her. "Please take a seat. May I invite you to join my afternoon tea? Miss Tsukino is already preparing the tea leaves for some Earl Grey."

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"Most of the things we do are important, Prime Minister," Ashton said as he took a seat. "But out of all the important things I had to do, this seemed to top the list... Ah tea! My grandfather loves tea, next time I come here to Japan I should bring him. I would be happy to join you." Ashton waited a few moments as the tea was poured and then looked back up to the Prime Minister. "While we were flying over the Hawaiian islands, I was made aware that the Confederate States of America has collapsed. The Central Intelligence Agency could not confirm if it was a coup or if it was internal conflict, but what we do know is that it has caused a collapse of the major elements of their government. I've directed the United States's armed forces to prepare to assist Japanese forces, if such assistance is needed. I'm not sure what your government knows, but I wanted to begin our meeting by letting you know what we know, Prime Minister." 

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"Well, as far as I have heard from the reports of the Central Intelligence Research Agency, the Confederate States mostly dissolved due to internal disputes between the states and bad governance resulting in a collapse of the federal level government. But we resecured the area, in order to prevent issues.", Akiyama stated, as Tsukino poured each of the two a cup of tea. She then put down a cup of sugar, a can of milk and a bit of lemon juice there, so the President could add as he wished. Akiyama meanwhile thanked Tsukino, who returned into the background, and continued. "As for your offer in support, well, I cannot say that we're unwilling to consider it. However, I would prefer to have the matter adressed within the framework of a wider settlement. It seems to me that the United States so far have proven the most stable and capable state to arise from the ashes of the former Commonwealth and Japan is not planning on occupying the greater part of North America forever. I already mentioned the latter part in my talks with your representative last time, methinks. But yes, it would seem to me that cooperation between America and Japan could work out well, if the American people are up for such."

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