James Huffman is One of Those American Vultures Flocking around the Carcass of Japan

Sunday, January 02 2011 @ 06:03 AM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto


With Japan's "lost 20 years" being extended into another decade, the Japanese are dying for assurances and reassurances from America that their country is not really done yet. And that's where self-proclaimed Japan experts in the U.S. swoop down one after another like a flock of starved vultures.

It takes a firstrate chutzpah to rope people into believing Japan still shows vital signs without the help of a life-support system, but actually not a few American pundits and scholars have that impudence.

James L. Huffman, professor emeritus at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio (photo) is one of them. Like many others, the professor is ready to do whatever it takes to feed on the dead meat.

The Commentary page of the January 1 edition of the Daily Yomiuri features a breathtakingly ridiculous interview piece under the title of "Incompetent leaders no hindrance to progress." The caption summarizes the comments Huffman made in response to the phony questions raised by Cameron McLauchlan, DY staff writer, on behalf of Japanese suckers.

At the beginning, McLauchlan asked: "Japanese governments over the years have often been described as weak and leaderless. So where has the energy that developed Japan into a major power come from?" So the entire interview was conducted based on the false assumption that this country still remains a major power after all these lost 20 years.

They made believe Japan's international competitiveness has not fallen from No. 1 in 1990 to No. 27 in 2010, and that the accelerated exodus of top-notch scientists and engineers to China is an imaginary thing. This was only to allow the fraudulent professor to resort to his special skills in acrobatic logic to make absurd argumentation such as this:

"The Japanese people have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. They have always been highly innovative. That spirit may spring partly from the fact that government control has been lacking, or at least highly ineffective, in some periods."

But at the end of the interview, the interviewer and interviewee betrayed their transparent sophism. McLauchlan asked: "As a historian, what advice would you give to Japanese leaders today?"

Huffman should have answered, "As I said, the ineffectiveness on the part of the government fosters, rather than hinders, the innovativeness on the part of the people. In that sense, Naoto Kan is an ideal prime minister and needs no advice from me." Instead, however, the American historian had the nerve to say matter-of-factly that Kan should learn from the early-Meiji politicians such as Hirobumi Ito or Aritomo Yamagata who were driven by national prosperity and strength.

This indicates that the old Japan expert has lost touch with the subject country. Actually, Kan has learned too much from the early days of Japan's aspiration for a modern nation-state to learn how it ended up in failure in 1945.

I wonder how the bastard emeritus from Ohio would respond if I asked him: "By the same token, do you think the ineptness and idiocy of the American people, including yourself, are primarily attributable to the fact that U.S. Presidents in recent years, such as Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Hussein Obama, have all been too great?"

In any event, Huffman had better scavenge for rotten meat on his own turf.

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