[FEATURE] Who Will be the Next Suicide Partner for the Japanese Prime Minister, Obama or Ozawa?

Saturday, February 05 2011 @ 09:24 PM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto

A famous scene from
the 18th century Kabuki
classic, The Love
Suicides at Amijima

In June last year, then-Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama committed double suicide with his party's Secretary-General Ichiro Ozawa. It was a symbolic one, but in this morbid culture of inaction, a symbolic act sometimes has more real implication than does the real action it's supposed to be substituted for.

At that time self-styled Japan experts in the U.S. thought that Naoto Kan, the incoming Prime Minister, would be able to pull this nation out of the economic doldrums and political imbroglio.

Presumably these highly-educated American scholars and pundits had seen too many Hollywood films backstage to comprehend the intricacy and subtlety involved in Japanese dramas. That is why they invariably failed to understand that the double resignation was just part of the traditional misogi ritual.

Now the Japanese are going to see another double suicide in a matter of months, or even weeks.

Last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Kan announced that Japan will decide by June on whether it will join talks for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on free trade. He had to blow his horn because he was so desperate to stop Obama from pulling the plug on his already precarious government. Even though Kan is an extremely dull-witted person, it's now dawning on him that without the support from Washington, his administration wouldn't last a single day.

It's small wonder that right after Kan's muddled pledge in Davos, Obama announced he would postpone the talks with Kan previously scheduled for early May. Obviously the U.S. President wanted to wait until after June to see if his Japanese subordinate would uncharacteristically keep his word.

Unlike an FTA or EPA which is basically a bilateral and reciprocal arrangement, TPP is a multilateral trade framework dominated by the U.S. Once you get involved in it, you will be forced to do whatever Washington tells you to do, be it the reduction of import duties, or the removal of non-tariff barriers, in 24 sectors and sub-sectors of your economy. That is why sound countries in this region, such as Canada and South Korea, have decided not to participate. That has left nine economies, most of them small developing countries such as Vietnam and Brunei.

As usual the Japanese media extended a helping hand to the drowning Kan by oversimplifying the TPP issue. They say it's just a matter of tradeoff between benefits some non-agricultural sectors can expect from the TPP membership and prohibitive costs to be incurred to the agricultural sector. All they want to say is that the issue is worth serious discussion anyway. But the fact of the matter remains that it's simply suicidal to sign up for it because the U.S. is a doomed country now.

Given the fact that both countries are in the same sinking boat now, you may think the Japanese Prime Minister will pick Obama as the partner of double suicide. But I think that is unlikely.

In that respect, I previously quoted Doyle McManus of Los Angeles Times. In his January 23 op-ed titled Did Tweeting Topple Tunisia?, McManus argued that "'digital wildfire' spreading across the repressive wasteland of the Arab world" is an illusion. He went on to say: "[Social media can sometimes be an accelerant for incipient revolutionary movements.] In the end, though, the most important steps in promoting democracy and securing human rights will continue to be low tech."

By stark contrast with "low-tech" citizens in Tunis or Cairo, the American people have gone too hi-tech - relative to the quality of life they seek leveraging these web-based technologies.

It is said that in the U.S., more than 65 million tweets are posted every day on the Twittering website. And as you know, these brainless and spineless birdies are chirping, day in, day out, about the faded American Fairy Tale. In short, they are too chicken-hearted and self-complacent to kill their leader, either politically or physically.

As a result, the bastard in the White House can rest assured that nobody will force him out until the next time his country goes through the absurd ritual called Presidential Elections.

It is true that the Japanese are even more inert. And yet, it looks as though Kan is digging his own grave now. That's why I don't think he will last long enough to take along Obama on his journey to hell.

This leaves the Prime Minister only with one eligible candidate for his suicide partner.

Believe it or not, his name is Ichiro Ozawa - once again.

In early September, Kan could barely win the election for the party presidency thanks to the all-out support from the judicial and media branches of the DPJ government as well as the intelligence agency of Obama's government.

But ever since Kan has been floundering between the two dead-end options - take on the devil at the cost of splitting up the party or flee with his tail between his legs. Now, as a natural consequence, he has no other choice but to jump off the cliff into the deep blue sea while holding Ozawa tight in his arms.

The idiot and the villain may not be very happy with their respective roles in Act V of the kabuki play. But the good news for the theater-goers is that reusable suicide partners such as Ozawa are always available to one who contemplates suicide to take responsibility for what he is not particularly responsible for in person.

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