Which do you think is more at fault, the swindler or his victim?
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
Nationwide and around-the-clock, people are cautioned
over and over not to remit their money to the designated
bank account until they positively identify the payee as
someone they know in person
These days most of you must have grown increasingly puzzled over where Japan is heading. Where the heck will the wave of never-ending political fuss and social unrest wash these people ashore?
According to media-retained pollsters, Prime Minister Aso's approval rating still keeps dipping after sinking below 20% soon after he took office. The popularity that former Prime Minister Koizumi was enjoying seems to dwarf Aso's. It's nothing new that the media give exorbitantly high marks to a new PM, or PM-to-be, and then downgrade him to the bottom in a matter of months. But, can these figures still indicate something? Absolutely nothing.
1) These figures are utterly unreliable because they are unaudited. Even if they were, still you couldn't be sure that they are not falsified. Japanese auditors have time and again proved venal.
2) Pollsters never give their pollees a valid alternative. Respondents must tick a leader they favor from among the same old figures such as Aso, Ozawa and Koizumi. There is no such choice given in the questionnaire as "Whoever leads this nation, Japan won't change for the better."
3) As a result, those who refuse to answer always outnumber other groups of pollees.
You should, therefore, look somewhere else for the true indication of where this country is heading.
For one thing, Aso's most recent "gaffe" about the postal privatization is somewhat intriguing in that respect. On February 5, the manga-loving Stanford-dropout whose IQ is said to be 80, said out of the blue that he started to think the Postal Privatization Law of 2005 might have to be thoroughly reviewed. Although the law stipulates that the way to privatize and split the now-defunct Japan Post into six independent entities in phases may be subject to adjustments every three years, what Aso hinted at was possibly to reverse the privatization process itself. Moreover, it was too late for the first triennial review and too early for the second.
In order to justify his sleep-talk he is now saying that at the beginning he was opposed to the privatization bill but finally convinced by Koizumi to support it. Actually that means he made an aboutface for the second time and is now making a third by quickly taking back the Feb. 5 slip of the tongue.
It's been an open secret that since there was more than $3 trillion at stake in the privatization, U.S. policymakers who had vested interests in American financial institutions salivated a lot in anticipation of a huge cut from the privatization deal across the Pacific. That is why Washington put it high on the agenda of the "U.S.-Japan Regulatory Reform and Competition Policy Initiative" which had actually served as the one-way representations of the U.S. demands from its far eastern ally since the early-1990s. (As of today, there are signs that someone "suggested" the Japanese Wikipedia entry about the policy initiative be deleted.)
It has to be a unilateral initiative simply because Japan is in a position to one-sidedly reciprocate America's favor to shelter it with its nuclear umbrella although you can't tell for sure the U.S. will never take it back when it actually starts pouring. This is basically why Japan's domestic and foreign policies have kept wavering all the time without any internal necessity. Aso is no exception.
An independent Canadian journalist based in Tokyo theorizes that the Koizumi administration railroaded the postal privatization bill to comply with the undue demand by Washington. He says that Koizumi's finance minister Heizo Takenaka is a disciple of Henry Kissinger, who, in turn, is a loyal henchman of David Rockefeller. This may be yet another delusion we hear from those "truth-seekers." But where there is no fire, there's no smoke.
The single most important flaw inherent to allegations made by conspiracy theorists is the fact that they always make believe those who repeatedly fall victim to malicious plots are innocent. Actually a victim is a politically correct way of naming an accomplice. In a sense, it's these morbidly suggestible and docile people that make otherwise decent people feel inclined to act like swindlers.
Let's turn our eyes to their domestic behavior. For one thing, take a look at the following numbers which I recapitulated based on the statistics compiled by the National Police Agency:
Bank Transfer Scams - 2008 Stats by NPA Number of Attempts 28,096 Number of Successful Attemps 27,531 Success Ratio 98% Total Defrauded Amount in K￥ 43,113,671 Above Amount Restated in K$ 479,041
These figures for "furikome sagi" (bank transfer scams) include those for their variants called "ore-ore sagi" (it's me, it's me scams) but that doesn't make any difference to my argument. The spectacular numbers translate into ￥118 million, or $1.3 million swindled everyday and 3 persons per hour falling into the trap set up by scammers, who are as smart as to think of a cheap trick, despite the nationwide and around-the-clock anti-scam campaign.
Looking at the behavior of these helplessly credulous and gullible adults, you cannot but conclude that they are suffering from a serious developmental defect. For centuries, the Japanese have been treated like they are kindergarten kids. As a result they have all become neotenized.
You may think the Japanese are just having a spell of hiccup right now, and that this is still curable. But I am afraid that is not the case because this illness dates back as far as to the 17th century, or even beyond.
More importantly, although you may find it too far-fetched to see a parallel between these scams and the U.S.-Japanese relationship, it's quite evident that the same national illness has been seriously affecting the bilateral ties - and vice versa. Obviously these dupes have been undermining the 49-year-old bilateral relations, but at the same time the influence from the other side of the partnership is exacerbating the pathological problem of the Japanese people.
Perhaps, it makes little sense to ask which party is more responsible for the current situation, the victim or the perpetrator. The real question seems to be: "Who should take what action to end all this, if ever there still is something worth a try to fix the root problem?"
My answer will be: "Cut off Japan's 'umbilical cord' with Washington." Since you can't realistically expect Japan to initiate such an action, it's the U.S. that should take this step. TokyoFreePress has repeatedly cited the Asian proverb that goes like: "The lion pushes its cub off the cliff" at a certain age so that the cub can grow into a viable, self-reliant adult. It is quite unlikely that Japan could survive the plunge. But that is that.
Practically every American I have talked to found the shock therapy utterly objectionable. But, do they have any other specific counterproposal to expedite the growth of the Japanese? (If they show me one, I'll show them a lion cub pushing its parent off the cliff.) Or are they really concerned, to begin with, about their developmentally-defected friends in Japan? Actually it takes a cruel heart to artificially prolong the life of an unviable organism.
For quite some time now, TokyoFreePress has argued that the serious conglutination caused by the security treaty can be likened to a mutual addiction. Even on the part of the U.S., it takes a tremendous amount of mental effort to break the addiction. But I think the Americans still can withstand the unpleasant soul-searching to bring the counterproductive alliance to an end, though a little belatedly.
Unfortunately, though, I don't believe I have been able to convince many American friends of my anti-alliance views articulated here because of, rather than despite the fact that this independent blogger has no vested interests, whatsoever, in the Treaty, or its termination. I suspect it has almost become a human nature to find something fishy in an unbiased argument like mine. ·