Following JPAC, the President is scheduled to have a luncheon at the hotel with newly-elected Prime Minister Abe, then a tri-lateral meeting with PM Abe and President Roh; my job here is supposed to be watching the japanese press, who must be kept isolated in a 'holding room' (i.e., hotel back office) so as not to risk contaminating the security screening they and their equipment have gone through. I had volunteered for this, despite the inconvenience of having to run there directly from the JPAC site. I'm hoping to see PM Abe (maybe after President Bush's wink, I can get Abe to blow me a kiss..?), and practice my Japanese with the reporters. However, there's a greater need to have someone assist with the korean press, so after about 10 minutes with the Japanese I'm pulled upstairs to the South Koreans' holding room instead.
Much like JPAC, this, too, quickly turns into crowd control, complicated by the fact that the Koreans are either unable or unwilling (I suspect the latter) to speak English. I use my few korean words -- 'now', 'here', 'NO' -- to varying effect. The word I really need is 'wait', but I can't for the life of me remember it. Leading them down to where the trilateral has just concluded, it's a veritable soccer stadium stampede. First we're told only still photographers, so they surge forward away from the angry cursing of the cameramen while I and the other TDYers throw out our arms and raise our voices in a vain attempt to stem the tide 'Not yet not yet not yet!'. Then the word comes that tv cameras are allowed afterall, cueing the return of the still-angry cameramen, and a whole new wave of bodies is added to the lot. The lead for the White House advance team gets the good idea of forming a sort of human funnel with the staffers, so that the press is channeled rather than led into the room with the three heads of state. "Gentle, gentle!" he's chiding, and I'm sure the press corps is heeding his advice and throwing their elbows and swinging their cameras at each other as gently as possible. Whose idea it was to put grouchy Japanese and Koreans holding heavy objects in the same room, I'm not sure... WWWF, take note. I can see one of the TDYers from Beijing, who's been swept into the room by the forward motion of the press. He's grinning in amused disbelief.
Back in the filing center for the overnight shift, I'm told that the JPAC clips are playing very well. I hope that the operations going on there get some attention back home. That would make it all worthwhile.