Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Sunday, June 06, 2010


Here we go again. I swear; Japan seems to go through Prime Ministers faster than most people go through rolls of toilet paper. Yukio Hatoyama, the historically significant, first-ever Democrat Prime Minister of this country, has decided to throw in the towel only about 8 months into his term. That means the Democrat-led coalition government has to scramble to choose a new PM and reshuffle the cabinet before the oh-so-misnamed Liberal Democratic Party (which is actually a loose confederation of conservative corporate oligarchs) manages to pull off a political coup.

"That does it! I'm off!"

Of course, with the public as disillusioned with the Democratic Party of Japan as they have become, the coalition starting to fragment, and the LDP newly emboldened after their humiliating ejection last year (and sharpening their collective claws), we may see yet another sudden switching of polarity sometime soon.

For myself, I have to say I'm not altogether surprised. Despite my being a left-leaning centrist or moderate with no love of the LDP, I had a feeling the DPJ victory was doomed from the start. Make no mistake; I fully agree with the core philosophy of the DPJ, and their manifesto, for the most part, is awesome. Unfortunately, as with many if not most activist-minded political parties, their agenda included a lot of goals that were clearly the same shade of rose as the glasses they were all wearing (i.e. "not bloody likely"). They made a lot of really brilliant promises that went over well with the general public but not basic logic.

Not that they didn't TRY to keep their promises. They certainly followed through with their noble plan to eliminate government pork...even if it meant suddenly terminating multi-million-dollar projects that were already more than half finished (i.e. leaving a mess that would probably cost as much to clean up as it would to finish). They terminated all (strictly non-combat) Self-Defense Force participation in Coalition military activities, as they said they would. There were also revisions in various public services such as education in keeping with their manifesto.

However, there were also some colossal blunders. The promise to eliminate all highway tolls wound up mutating into a "simplified" toll system that actually made rates MORE expensive for a lot of commuters. The promise to make public senior high school (i.e. non-compulsory) education free instead became what appears to be an income-based subsidy system that is a complicated mess. The promise to remove the US military's Futenma air station from Okinawa and relocate it elsewhere in if not outside of the country ran smack into a brick wall (i.e. nobody else wanted it). There was also the promise to reduce taxes which transformed into the DPJ-led administration discussing increasing the sales tax (VAT) without telling the public. Needless to say, confidence in the Democrat government, not to mention its popularity, shrank quicker than a bulimic's waistline.

Hatoyama himself had no end of trouble. As if his showing up at a barbecue party for foreign leaders while wearing an M.C. Hammer shirt didn't give the media enough fodder to guffaw about, there was both his unwillingness to break from scandal-plagued DPJ powerhouse Ichiro Ozawa and certain questionable financial activities of his own. Eventually, his flip-flopping on the Okinawa base issue (read "caving to Obama") caused the Social Democrats to break from the coalition. That pretty much did him in; even if his name weren't mud within his own party, the LDP was already readying a no-confidence measure against him. His options were basically quit or be squashed like a bug.

And so now we have a new Prime Minister. With the LDP loading for bear, he may not last long, but at least his name is easy to remember:


  • Hm, is this a glimpse of things to come for the UK, I wonder?

    Thanks for explaining it all so wonderfully!

    By Blogger Rock Chef, at 1:19 AM  

  • I share your views about the LDP and DPJ... had some hopes with DPJ but I guess it was not surprising to see how Hatoyama screwed up... he was like, scoring his own goals, committing unforced errors and all... Okinawa was his waterloo, so to say...

    Am writing a post on the police here and would like to put a link to your post 'When You're On the Receiving End'... do you have a unique page link to this post?

    By Blogger Lrong, at 1:50 PM  

  • Lrong
    Welcome back!

    I'd be honored if you linked my post! Here's how to do it:

    At the bottom of every post, there is a line that says, "Posted by The Moody Minstrel at..." followed by a time entry that is also a link.

    That time entry is a link to the post. Use its URL (easiest is to right-click it and choose "Copy link URL").

    (Incidentally, that post led to an old friend of mine making some pretty nasty comments before blowing off, cutting all ties, and then slandering me by name on Facebook. Some have said I should press charges. It'll be nice to see it being given even more exposure.)

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 8:36 PM  

  • Chief Rock Chef
    I hope the UK doesn't have to go through all this!

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 8:37 PM  

  • MM, Danke!

    By Blogger Lrong, at 5:34 PM  


    By Blogger Pandabonium, at 5:01 PM  

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