Monday, August 31, 2009

Pivotal moment in Japan's history

On the day after the election, the Australian published an article on the DPJ victory written by its Foreign editor, Greg Sheridan.

“Yukio Hatoyama’s victory is a pivotal point in modern Japanese history,” said Sheridan. “And when Japan pivots, the consequences for Australia are enormous.”

“It could be as big and bold and thunderingly significant as the last two great Japanese pivots - the Meiji Restoration in the late 1800s and the post-war economic revival,” said Sheridan. “Both of those pivots had colossal consequences for Australia.”

Sheridan noted that the Meiji Restoration modernized Japan. Eventually, Australia and Japan would have to fight against each other in World War II. And after the war, the economic growth that Japan enjoyed, “more than any other external factor, powered Australian economic growth.”

“We have our war legends because of the Japanese, and we also have our contemporary prosperous Australian society because of the Japanese,” noted Sheridan.

I disagree with Sheridan – I think the consequences of this election are bigger than the consequences of those previous two pivots.

History end here.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Japan's Moment of Choice

After the DPJ election victory, Sheila Smith wrote a blog post about what that would mean.

She hoped that the DPJ would work with the Obama administration on improving energy efficiency in America, as Japan had a technological advantage in that area. On the other hand, it appeared that Smith was very fearful of what the DPJ might do.

She said the DPJ would “test the patience of those outside Japan.”

“Japan’s laborious process of political transformation seems out of sync with the increasingly harsh pacing of events,” said Smith.

Smith predicted that the DPJ administration would “find itself severely tested by events abroad.”


Look who’s talking.

Smith noted that the DPJ wanted to place greater emphasis on its relations with its neighbors, “but the real change suggested by DPJ leaders is in addressing more squarely the legacies of Japan’s WWII history.”

With Bold Stand, Japan Opposition Wins a Landslide

On August 30, 2009, the DPJ absolutely crushed the LDP in the election, winning 308 of the 480 seats in the Lower House. Yukio Hatoyama called the election “revolutionary.”

“Many Japanese saw the vote as the final blow to the island nation’s postwar order, which has been slowly unraveling since the economy collapsed in the early 1990s,” said the New York Times.

Daniel C. Sneider predicted that the DPJ would “end the habits from decades of a relationship in which Japan didn’t challenge the United States.”

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A New Path for Japan

On August 26, a date which will live in infamy in the minds of all the U.S. “experts” who secretly “managed” our relationship with Japan, the New York Times published an op-ed written by Yukio Hatoyama called “A New Path for Japan.”

In the article, Hatoyama accused America of foisting “market fundamentalism” on the world and robbing humanity of its dignity. He demanded that the world “return to the idea of fraternity.”

“Fraternity as I mean it can be described as a principle that aims to adjust to the excesses of the current globalized brand of capitalism and accommodate the local economic practices that have been fostered through our traditions,” said Hatoyama.


According to Hatoyama, the changes Japan adopted after the Cold War had destroyed the local communities in Japan. Presumably, Hatoyama was attacking the Koizumi reforms that Lawrence Lindsey demanded. Hatoyama basically said that he wanted to undo those changes. He wanted to “rebuild” Japan’s welfare and health care systems. He wanted to provide money to families who were raising children. And he wanted the government to pay the tuition for high school.

And to top it all off, Hatoyama called for the creation of an “East Asian Community.”

After they read this article, I’m sure steam was coming out of the ears of our “U.S. experts on Japan.”


Bow down. Bow down.

We don't know what we are doing...really

“Our biggest policy challenge is diplomacy,” said Kan Suzuki, a DPJ lawmaker. “As an opposition party, we had a complete lack of information.”

Apparently, this was the excuse Japan used for conducting its upcoming investigation into the so-called “secret agreements” between Japan and America – the LDP never told us anything while they were in power, so now we have to conduct an investigation to discover the truth about the relationship between Japan and America.

Regardless of whether or not the DPJ lawmakers knew anything about those agreements before they assumed power, I can guarantee you that whomever really runs Japan knew exactly what was in those agreements and knew exactly what they were doing during the Hatoyama administration.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Aso advises poor young people not to marry

On August 23, a student told Taro Aso that he believed Japan suffered from a low birthrate because young people in Japan don’t have enough money to get married. In response, Taro Aso agreed that young, poor people should not marry because such people cannot be seen as worthy of the respect of a spouse. This comment didn’t go down well with the public and it helped insure the eventual defeat of the LDP during the upcoming election.

On his blog, Mr. Okumura wrote a post about Aso’s latest gaffe. In the comments section I wrote…
I love Aso. I’m really going to be sad when he gets the boot.
In retrospect, I wonder if my government “made” me write that comment because they did not want to see the DPJ take over.

In response to my comment, Mr. Okumura replied…
There is something memorable about Aso’s gaffes. Some of them are actually jokes taken out of context (not that public figures shouldn’t be careful, as even the extremely self-aware Obama has had to learn). But others are otherworldly.
I remember that after I read that response, I had intended on writing another comment, but I never got around to it. Had I made the time to write another comment, it would probably have looked something like…
Uh…aren’t the “otherworldly” comments and the jokes one and the same thing?
The day after Aso made the comment, his Chief Cabinet Secretary, Takeo Kawamura, defended his boss.

“The expression was direct, but I think it was a reflection of his feelings that measures must be taken to tackle young people’s job problems,” said Kawamura.

Of course, the thing that might turn things around would be the end of the Aso administration and the beginning of an administration that would reduce the inequity in Japanese society, an administration that would have a governing philosophy more similar to the one the DPJ had…

Ooh, that sneaky, treacherous Aso. He really takes the cake.