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Yomiuri should drop its preach against vested interests held by lawmakers

New boss of LDP's Tsushima faction

Dear Editors of Yomiuri:

Although it may not be customary to run an article for correction when an editorial is found to be a fallacy, as is often the case with Japanese newspapers, some of your ten-million subscribers feel that you now owe them one. Actually a correction and apology for purposely deceiving your readership are almost three months overdue now.

On August 18, in the midst of the campaign 2005, the Yomiuri Shimbun and the Daily Yomiuri editorialized that "waning of factions [in the Liberal Democratic Party] led to [the] birth of [a] new party." It's all the more impermissible as you boldly used the past tense. But if you had written "may lead" instead, still it wouldn't have been any more acceptable because you knew very well that wasn't going to be the case at all.

On November 4, for instance, a powerful LDP faction, often referred to as "Former Hashimoto Faction" (Kyuu Hashimoto-ha), elected former Welfare Minister Yuji Tsushima, 75, to head the intra-party group after the 15-month vacancy in the post since the scandal-tainted former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto resigned as the chieftain. He had to step down because he was indicted on bribery charges then. Immediately after Tsushima was elected, he swore that he would do his best to revamp the group from the setback it has been suffering since the revelation of the scandal.

All along you have known very well that the LDP is a group of downright pork-barrel operators and that there would be no LDP (not a "new LDP") if and when these factions vanished for whatever is the reason.

Today (November 16) you unrepentantly ran a congratulatory editorial titled "LDP must stick to guns as 50th anniversary nears". Incidentally you used the wrong tense here, once again. What do you mean the anniversary "nears"? Today falls on it as you correctly remind us in the same article. (See the postscript at the bottom of this post.)

Since the days before the Sept. 11 House of Representatives poll, you have developed a liking for the words "vested interests" for an obvious reason. And once again in the today's editorial, you used the same phrase twice. The first such sentence reads:
"Diet members with vested interests in ministries and specific industries that benefit from their efforts have become impediments to reform."
The other one goes like this:
"Meanwhile, the LDP is trying to prevent the intervention of lawmakers with vested interests, limiting terms of research council and special committee chairpersons as part of the party's reform attempt."

Perhaps these half-hearted "reform" measures are what you mean by "guns". But before hastily hailing Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi for his unwavering resolve for (piecemeal) reform, you'd better make sure if he has released the safety catches of his fake guns.

Koizumi's reform jokes aside, we think it's about time you've kicked the habit of telling fallacies to your ten-million loyal subscribers. In fact your favorite vested interest stuff is just yet another pernicious lie - unless you are ready to cough up the dark secret about your own vested interests, because it's them that constitute the real impediment to the reform of this nation. Today, you editors, as well as your beat reporters stationed in an estimated 700-1,000 Kisha Kurabu (Press Clubs) affiliated with Nihon Shimbun Kyokai (Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association), are desperately clinging to the undue privilege of exclusive access to news sources.

You should know that the Constitution (its Articles 14 and 21, in particular) has become an empty promise just because of your vested interests.

BTW: Sometime this year, you have observed, or will observe, the 115th anniversary of the ingenious invention of a system in which to "cartelize information", to borrow the phrase aptly coined by Laurie Anne Freeman, author of "Closing the Shop". Don't you think 115 years of all this is more than enough?

Postscript: One day after the editorial in question appeared, the Daily Yomiuri put it on its website (Daily Yomiuri Online). Now I noticed the editors had changed its title, perhaps taking my advice. The new title is "LDP must push reform after 50th anniversary". Maybe this implies the LDP didn't push reform until it turned 50 years of age yesterday. Then that is a notch closer to the truth. Lesson to be learned here: Any habitual liar has some difficulty using the right tense, or the right word, for that matter, to make his false stories sound plausible, and consistent with each other. But most of the time the extra effort to overcome the difficulty doesn't pay off. ·

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