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Welcome to TokyoFreePress Thursday, March 23 2017 @ 11:15 PM JST

Comparisons among two governors and a mayor

This is a re-post of the same piece which appeared in another section of this blog in September last year.

It's sometimes a useful way to evaluate what Shintaro Ishihara has done thus far and who he is to compare the current Tokyo Governor with someone in a position similar to his. The following are two examples of such sketchy comparison:
If I am to compare him with Rudolph Giuliani, the former NYC Mayor really eclipses the current Tokyo Governor. On the surface they may look pretty much alike. But actually the single-minded former NYC Mayor did a splendid job when he put the "Broken Windows Theory" into practice, whereas the Tokyo Governor, the backyard bully, has done nothing but bully Korean owners of pachinko parlors. Besides, he has turned a blind eye to one of the Japan's biggest concentrations of disguised whorehouses in the same neighborhood where sits his high-rise Metropolitan Government's Headquarters building. Ishihara's police department (TMPD) keeps lending helping hand to more or less yakuza-affiliated bathhouses and the like by subtly legitimatizing the highly institutionalized prostitution by ordinances.

When compared to Yasuo Tanaka, Ishihara is again by far outshone by the Nagano Governor. Both governors have many things in common. They graduated from Hitotsubashi University. After the graduation, both men chose to get into a writing career. But unlike Tanaka, Ishihara went into national politics with his fishy slogan about a "Revolution inside the System" only to fail to deliver anything he had promised to the voters. But Tanaka chose to go into local politics as his second career. So he doesn't owe his supporters a concession speech like his counterpart in Tokyo. And his catchword about an ambitious "Nagano Revolution" is much more realistic. With his top-notch learning ability, he is testing the limit at every step when taking bold measures for his bottom-up reform. Although my way of viewing Tanaka may look naive and too schmaltzy, what the down-to-earth Governor is up to always reminds me of a famous line in Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List". Toward the end of that film, the old accountant Stern says to Schindler, his boss, when handing him a ring as a token of appreciation: "(The inscription inside the ring) is Hebrew. It says, 'Whoever saves one life saves the world'." Ishihara should have learned by now, if he had an average learning ability, that is, it can never be the other way around. I am not sure if Tanaka's pursuit of Nagano Revolution will ultimately succeed. And yet one thing is for sure. No matter whether he succeeds, he will never regret having given it a try the hardest way.

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