Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Challenges for Cabinet

The Asahi Shimbun published an editorial called “Challenges for Cabinet” on June 9, 2010. The newspaper said the Kan administration needed to transform Japanese politics. Specifically, they wanted the DPJ to create a “politics of choice and persuasion” which it claimed was different from the previous system.

“Under the so-called 1955 political system that rendered regime changes unrealistic, the ruling and opposition parties maintained confrontational relations on the surface, but compromises were struck underneath,” said the Asahi Shimbun.

By contrast, under the new system, the politicians would have an open and honest discussion about the issues at hand and they would try to convince each other of the merits of their views.

This is another article that is somewhat different than what I remember. I remember the Asahi Shimbun, and the rest of the Japanese media, more inclined to having each politician stick to one position, which kind of makes persuasion unnecessary, at least persuasion involving one lawmaker to another. The politicians would still have to convince the public. But the party that won the election would get to implement their policies. Remember that one of the chief complaints against Hatoyama was his dithering and indecision. Actually, I believe Japan made Hatoyama repeatedly switch positions in an attempt to convince America, and in particular me, that a person should adopt one position and stick to it.

But regardless of what kind of system the Asahi Shimbun originally wanted, I am fairly sure they were serious about the need to transform Japanese politics. In the article, the Asahi Shimbun said that if the Kan administration failed to transform Japanese politics, that failure would cause “irreparable damage to Japan’s democracy.” Later on, my government “told” me that the Kan administration was failing so completely that democracy might end in Japan. Japan might chose to simply get rid of its politicians and let the bureaucrats take over.

I still believe that the only important functions that the politicians perform are to make jokes and waste time. Unfortunately, those functions haven’t meant a whole lot recently. The world has been wasting far too much of its time on political theater. Governments need to start getting things done. The only government that seems to be getting anything done is the Chinese government. They seem to have the better system.

In fact, it appears that Japan is making America chose. America must either help the Kan administration become a success or Japan may end its current form of democracy and adopt a system more along the lines of the Chinese system. Given that America and Europe have always done everything they could to keep China and Japan separate, you would think they would do something to help out the Kan administration, but if they have, I haven’t seen it.

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