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Japan Trivia 12: Unlikely People to Have Thrown in Lifesavers for Drowning Prime Minister

The blue line represents
Kan's approval rating
In my previous post, I updated you on the approval rating of the Kan administration which had nosedived from the vicinity of 65% to 27.8% in a matter of two months according to Jiji Press. The reason behind the sharp decline was because even the world's most credulous people had become too used to "legal" red herrings to be put further away off the scent of the real issue.
Although the approval rating further dipped over the weekend to 21.8% according to Fuji News Network, Akikan, or the Empty Can, as Naoto Kan is dubbed lately, still hangs on to the revolving door of the Prime Minister's office. There are two reasons he is barely able to stay afloat.

Yanagida keeps
On November 14, one of his cabinet members Minoru Yanagida was with his supporters in his Hiroshima constituency to belatedly celebrate his appointment as Justice Minister two months ago. At that time, the head of nation's corrupt judicial system confided to the local congregation that actually it's a cinch to carry out his responsibility as Justice Minister because the only thing he is supposed to say when answering touchy questions in the Diet is to automatically repeat the following phrases interchangeably:
1) I can't comment on the specific issue.
2) We are dealing with the matter based on the law and available evidence.
Actually he had used these sentences 33 times since he was appointed by Naoto Kan to the position.

The moment the news got out, the opposition camp started to screech, saying Yanagida's remarks were totally impermissible because these words constituted a contempt of the Diet. The entire nation instantly turned into a madhouse. As usual the media got extremely nitpicky about the semantics of the harmless gaffe and replayed the video footage at issue over and over again - more frequently than Yanagida had repeated his taped answers in the Diet.

The Justice Minister offered sincere apology to everyone, automatically repeating the same excuse that although he hadn't intended to make light of Diet deliberations, he felt too much at home, surrounded by his Hiroshima supporters. He added that he was under the heavy influence of alcohol at that time.

This was yet another reminder of what I call the Culture of Apology, the peculiar climate where an unlucky person apologizes for something he is not particularly responsible for.

But the Liberal Democratic Party and other opposition parties wouldn't listen in part because this was just part of the predetermined misogi ritual and in part because there was nothing else to nag Kan about at that moment. On Monday the Prime Minister had to sack Yanagida.

This always happens when it becomes too evident that something is fundamentally wrong with this nation. Last prime ministers of the LDP administration and the first prime minister of the DPJ administration invariably dug their own graves because of a slip of the tongue.

In June I told my audience what the misogi ritual is all about when Yukio Hatoyama stepped down as prime minister. But nobody seemed to understand. Some Japan experts in the U.S. went as far as to promise Hatoyama's successor would lead the way to a new Japan. They were mistaken once again although none of them blushed for a split second..

If you still don't think my explanation is good enough to convince you why the bastard had to lose his cushy job because of a casual slip of the tongue, you may want to turn to these Japan experts in the U.S. who boldly claim to have more unbiased and clearer views of Japan than this humble blogger who has lived these turbulent years in this country since 1935.

Better yet, though, you can expect the best answer from those in the same occupation with Yanagida. In particular I recommend you contact Nobuteru Ishihara, Secretary General of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party. He is a son of the equally retarded Tokyo Governor who was once named a "Social Neanderthal" by Australian journalist Ben Hills. Also he is known to be a senior member of Sukyo Mahikari, a cult somewhat akin to the world renowned Aum Supreme Truth.

I can't guarantee you that he is reachable right now. But if you have the luck to ask him your question, keep this in mind: you should pitch a nasty curveball to the Secretary General of the LDP in order to get a meaningful answer. You should perhaps word your question like this:

What's wrong with an idiot telling his fellow idiots a stupid thing like this?

Of course, the moron wouldn't be able to utter a word in response to your tricky question. But be assured, that is the best answer.

Then came the November 23 "surprise" attack by North Korea on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong. It took Japan's commander-in-chief as long as seven hours to issue a rubberstamp statement that said:
■ We strongly condemn the attack.
■ We will do our best to gather and analyze information.
■ We will work together ever more closely with South Korea and the U.S.
■ At this moment we don't think the North Korean attack will directly affect Japanese citizens. But just in case, we should be prepared for a worst case scenario.

The predictable statement came so late and was so stale simply because Akikan actually felt relieved when he learned of the news from his aide who had in turn learned of the outbreak of the attack when watching a news program on TV. The reason the Prime Minister felt a sense of relief was because Ishihara and his colleagues had now been seeking the heads of Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku, some other cabinet members, and ultimately the Prime Minister himself.

Since North Koreans are believed to have used old-fashioned howitzers or similar artillery, the shelling did not cause devastating damages on the islanders. But obviously Kim Jong-il, or his boss in Beijing, helped Kan sidetrack the shower of shells from the opposition parties.

All printed media have jumped at the "heightening of tensions on the peninsula" because after Yanagida's dismissal, they were running out of fresh red herrings.

Today's Daily Yomiuri reports: "The opposition parties agreed Wednesday to postpone their plan to submit a censure motion in the House of Councilors against Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku because of the North Korean shelling of a South Korean island Tuesday."

The Your Party headed by Yoshimi Watanabe is the only exception in insisting what's going on on the peninsula has nothing to do with formidable problems facing Japan. But actually, other parties are now poised to grill the inept Kan government over its defective way of managing "crisis" as if they could have responded to it more effectively.

Waido-sho is
the most popular
news show format
on every TV
station with a nationwide
Waido-sho (wide shows) are doing the same thing in a little more entertaining way. Military experts, ex-generals of the JSDF, self-proclaimed Korea experts and politicians like Ishihara have appeared one after another to chitchat over a wide variety of topics ranging from local crimes to suicides to Prince William's wedding to Yanagida's gaffe to the North Korean attack - with a dozen of punks and cuties sitting in those overpopulated studios. In between schmoozes, they are repeatedly showing the same unimpressive scenes of the shootout as if Pyongyang's brinkmanship is posing a serious threat to the already defunct country and its braindead people.
Unfortunately, the Japanese will have to wait some more weeks until they can watch on waido-sho these neotenized TV personalities making fun of Akikan as he goes through the final stage of the ongoing misogi ritual. They will have learned absolutely nothing even when Kan puts an end to his short-lived administration. ·

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Japan Trivia 12: Unlikely People to Have Thrown in Lifesavers for Drowning Prime Minister
Authored by: samwidge on Thursday, November 25 2010 @ 09:41 PM JST

I see an undercurrent to the things you describe in your stories here, an underlying truth about America's continuing ability and inability to fully understand Japan (or any other nation, for that matter).

You speak casually about a multi-party system. Though we claim otherwise, we have only two parties. Our two parties complain about each other but our most effective elected officers are all respectful of each other. If there is excessive drinking going on, people from both parties will step in to prevent the press from knowing or participating.

It is not a firm protection nor is it one that works well on every day of every year. But our officials do try to maintain the patina of respectability in the whole system.

Therefore, you are revealing a side of politics that we do not get to observe. It sounds like Japanese politics is "every man for himself." Your parties divide and split like amoeba. When your officials cross party boundaries, it is not a major event.

Interesting. Very interesting!

You speak of your people in very harsh terms. Over here, our journalists cannot do this because, when they do, people stop listening. It is like going to a party and telling guests how the hostess lost her virginity. -- That is, it might be interesting but it is also unacceptably rude.

For now, American international diplomacy is a stodgy, cautious guest that makes big decisions long before events and then reveals them after the fact. Our diplomats are seldom surprised. Our diplomats have known for years what they would do after each North Korean attack. They know exactly what they will do when it goes nuclear. They know just how to handle each new president and how to make that person understand what must be done.

They know that Korean conflict will go nuclear at some time. They read Gordon Chang. They know that nuclear activity will not be the major tragedy that other events will be. They knew all this when Hiroshima was bombed. They knew that within 20-years 10,000 people on earth would have the knowledge of nuclear bomb-making.

Our politics will eventually become more like yours. Yours will not become more like ours. We will eventually become less trustworthy than now.

Give your grandchildren one last hug.