The Japanese political Titanic.
By, Uwe Paschen
Current Prime Minister Naoto Kan beat former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama length of time in office last Tuesday, surpassing the term of his predecessor now. This may be the only good news in this weeks head lines here in Japan, at least for Mr. Kan, whose tenure as Prime Minister is threaten as well due to the difficulties he faces in dealing with a divided parliament and his own fractious party. Kan assumed the premiership on June 8 last year after fellow Democratic Party of Japan member Mr. Hatoyama resigned over his failure to resolve a U.S. base relocation issue in Okinawa.
Wile Mister Naoto Kan has been in office for a mere 267 days so far, being a short time by most countries political standards, it sadly is some what of an event in Japanese politics as of late. Since over the past five years we had five Prime Ministers taking office.
There was Shinto Abe (2006-07) who got sick. He was replaced by Yasuo Fakuda (2007-08) who resigned to protest a legislative gridlock and was replaced by Taro Aso (2008-09) who ended up loosing an election to Yukio Hatoyama (2009-10). Mr. Hatoyama was the hope for many to redeem Japans political arena. The expectations and hopes that where generated towards him where some what comparable to the Obama syndrome only Japanese stile. He did not last as long as Obama though, since he had to resign due to his inability to give the US a good kick in the derriere. This gave us Mister Naoto Kan who seems to break a record as far as time in office is concerned as a Prime Minister in Japan, even though he is rather unpopular with just about every one and any one.
Then again he is not a “soiled silver spoon” like his predecessors where, since he does not decent From the crème de la crème of Japans political dynasties. All of his predecessors are sons or grand sons of former Japanese Prime Ministers and considered weaklings by the masses, why the term “soiled silver spoons.”
It is unlikely though that Mr. Naoto Kan, japans current Prime Minister will be any more successful then his predecessors even though he may be able to hang on to power a few weeks longer then they did.
The malaise is one that is much deeper and that is not limited to the Japanese political arena either. it is spread through out all segments and all levels of the Japanese society.
At times it seems almost that this country is like a ship headed for an iceberg, wile the crew and passenger are petrified almost hypnotized by the iceberg, the captain with his officers are busy debating whether or not to change the color of the uniforms rather then changing the heading of their ship, wish would allow them to avoid a total disaster.
The few that speak out will be silenced and ordered to sweep the deck even if they would be far better qualified as machine engineers that could by pass the command structure and reverse the engines of that ship, which would avoid colliding with the iceberg and save the ship. Instead they are demoted even humiliated and marginalized.
It is almost as if Japan wants this to happen and can only strive once this ship has hit the iceberg and sunk.
Maybe a few will survive and rebuild a new ship that will be better…
Through out Japans history this sort of thing seems to happen, the country seems to move forward and be able to change course only after a major catastrophe such as the Tokyo earthquake of 1923 or the carpet bombing of all Japanese cities toped by the two nuclear bombs that the US dropped on Japan, causing such grave disaster and pain that Japan changed course and became a beacon for all. At least for a time it was. Because since the mid eighties Japan finds its self stuck anew. Even paralyzed heading right for disaster. To the point that some seem to be hoping for another 1923 earthquake that would allow them to get the old guard out and rebuild this country so it may be able to move forward, avoiding total destruction and finally be able to face the realities of the twenty first century.
What ever happened to reason and common sense?