Friday, March 18, 2011

Will Grief Turn to Anger in Japan?

The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed written by Michael Auslin on March 18, 2011. The subtitle for the article was “Tokyo’s Response to the Earthquake Will Change the Country’s Politics Forever.”

In the aftermath of the earthquake, the situation in Japan was very severe. With Japan in turmoil, all eyes focused on the Kan administration. Both the Japanese public and the local governments demanded the administration provide leadership and accept accountability for their actions, or more often, inactions.

“Mayors of devastated towns have taken to the airwaves begging Tokyo for crucial support,” said Auslin.

According to him, the response to the earthquake would “determine the next decades of Japan’s history.”

“The great Tohoku earthquake has changed Japan in ways no one can yet envision,” said Auslin.

On the other hand, regardless of how badly the Kan administration screwed up the restoration efforts, Auslin believed that Japan would maintain its democratic constitutional system of government. The most that would happen, according to Auslin, would be a “sweeping change in political parties.” I disagree with that assessment.

I believe the Kan administration has screwed things up so badly that the moment is ripe for fundamentally altering the system of government in Japan. In fact, I have a feeling the Japanese bureaucracy either made the administration screw things up or they simply refused to lead the reconstruction efforts and let the administration do whatever they wanted in an attempt to show the world how stupid and worthless Japanese politicians really are. I believe the Japanese bureaucracy understands just how badly their current system of government has failed Japan and wanted to use the earthquake response to show the public that the current system must change.

The best thing you can say about the system of government adopted in Japan, Europe, and America is that it can provide entertainment, it can waste time, and countries can use it to avoid the responsibility of leadership.

I believe – and hope – that the Japanese bureaucracy sees how bad this system of government is, wants to change, and wants to provide leadership not only for Japan but also for the rest of the world.

Given that China, Europe, and America have repeatedly shown they have no intention of leading, they should be willing to give someone else a chance.

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