Japan is Proving an Unviable Nation for the Fourth Time

Sunday, March 27 2011 @ 03:31 AM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto

At the beginning of the year, a stupid Harvard professor named Joseph Nye told the Yomiuri Shimbun daily that he was sure that the Japanese people will overcome the current economic doldrums and political imbroglio. He assured the Yomiuri editor that with their proven track record of innovativeness, resilience and diligence, the Japanese people will reinvent their nation as they did twice in the past. I found his flattery not only sickening but also insulting.

In a matter of two-plus months, the M-9.0 quake and 33-foot seismic tidal waves hit the country as if to test Nye's intellect. Indications thus far is that the professor is flunking.

But just in case, let's take a look at how some salient political figures are trying to lead the country out of the ongoing crisis. If you find them way too incompetent to do their job, then the rest of the Japanese are unviable too, because after all, they have chosen these guys to represent them. In other words, the nation is done for - totally and for good.

Yukio Edano, Chief Cabinet Secretary

The nuclear power plant
located in Fukushima
Prefecture, 124 miles north-
east of Tokyo, is possibly
turning into another
Chernobyl now.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan has assigned his right-hand man to head his makeshift crisis management team. Edano is a wrong choice primarily because he is a licensed shyster. Not that, though, equally incompetent Prime Minister could have handpicked any other person who is qualified for the task from among his cronies.
You can never expect anyone with legal background to go extralegal whereas there is no such thing as an emergency measure that can be implemented within the existing legal framework. Worse, he knows absolutely nothing about the basics of risk management, such as:

■ strictly avoid wishful thinking,
■ always be prepared for the worst case scenario,
■ never distort facts or cover up what went wrong,
■ act a little faster than a snail,
■ be professional,
■ be systematic.

With the help extended by 官邸記者クラブ (Kantei Kisha Kurabu, or press club collusively attached to the Prime Minister's office), he has intended to manipulate people's hearts and minds, exactly in the same way 大本営 (Daihon-ei or Imperial Army Headquarters) did in the mid-1940s. For one thing, Edano and his friends in Kisha Kurabu have completely hushed up over the worst case scenario in which the trouble-stricken nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture is buried in a "sarcophagus" made of sand and concrete as the entire facility of Chernobyl was 25 years ago.

Presumably in this connection, they have also buttoned their lips over the fate of the 50 employees of Tokyo Electric Power Company who are still staying in the premises, according to the information reimported from Western media.

Because of his complete ignorance about the methodologies of professional crisis management, he had let things drift, while keep saying, "Don't panic because there's no immediate threat at this moment." In the meantime, TEPCO engineers indulged in fabricating data about radioactive contamination.

No wonder the natural calamity has quickly turned into a manmade catastrophe which is way beyond control. Now the "Chernobyl solution" seems to be the most likely scenario as many foreign experts have suggested.

Yet, very few Japanese are aware of the severity of the situation in part because they have learned too much about irrelevant things such as the lengths of half-life of cesium or iodine from self-proclaimed experts in nuclear engineering and atomic physics. These guys have never uttered the word "bury" because they have too much vested interests in the nuclear industry.

It is true that even in the U.S., there are some who dare to say the situation in Fukushima is even more benign than that of Three Mile Island. William Tucker, for one, says, "The containment structures appear to be working [in Fukushima]." But has he visited the site himself? Obviously, he is one of those guys who have sold their souls to the nuclear industry.

As I always argue, the single most important issue when talking about technologies is the human element entailed in them. Given Edano's utter ignorance of the basics of crisis management, the March 11 natural calamity has quickly turned into a manmade catastrophe which is far beyond control now.

Renho (Murata)

Renho was a bikini model
In the wake of the acute power shortage, the Taiwan-born member of Kan's Cabinet came up with an absurd countermeasure called 計画停電 (Keikaku Teiden or cuts in power supply scheduled in rotation among arbitrarily determined 5 blocks within TEPCO's service area.)

Previously she was spearheading the program called 事業仕分け (Jigyo Shiwake or budget cutback exercise as the Minister in Charge of Administrative Reforms.

Already at that time, the former model for cheesecake magazines thought she could squeeze trillions of yen out of her targets, mostly quasi-governmental organizations. She had been misled by Kan and Edano to believe that would be a piece of cake because all she would have to do is to shriek. And shrieking is her only forte. But of course, the single most important thing she should have to do was to prioritize things. And to prioritize, she should have had a clear vision of how things are organized at present and how they should be reorganized in the future.

As you have already known, she failed to bring about the expected result. Needless to say, it didn't cross her mind to strip the Imperial Family and its servants of US$213 million appropriated to them every year despite her initial pledge for a reform leaving no sacred cow.

Renho didn't staggered at all because the idiot thought Jigyo Shiwake was a success. Now she went on to implement a rationing system for power supply.

Once again, the single most important thing she doesn't have the slightest idea about is how people are interconnected among each other in an industrialized country such as Japan. For one thing she doesn't have the foggiest idea about what we businesspeople call "supply chain management system." She hasn't even heard the words often abbreviated as SCM.

I think you know what SCM is all about, but just in case, I will briefly explain it here.

A simplified illustration of
Supply Chain workflow
Your company is headquartered in Tokyo. The main application servers are installed in the headquarters building. Stationed in Osaka Branch, you get an inquiry for a product from a customer in Kyoto. He wants to know how soon it is delivered to his place. (We call it an event.)Then you make your inquiry at your PC or on a mobile device to find out the availability of the product for an immediate delivery.

The database on the server is always brought up-to-the-minute as to the stock information at the several distribution centers. Unfortunately, you learn that none is available for an immediate shipment. Now you have to know how soon your Fukushima Plant can manufacture the product, again from the database on the server. Then someone in the Production Planning Department has to ask his friend working at the Parts Storage Department for the availability of necessary parts. And finally, if some parts and components are found not in stock, he has to place orders with subcontractors located in Chiba and Miyagi Prefectures - and so on.

It should be noted that all these event-driven exchanges of information have to be done in a matter of minutes through the Internet and the "Intranet."

With her empty head, Renho thought her Keikaku Teiden program will somehow work out. But actually it will never. The broad might as well have thought about implementing total blackouts for the entire service area of TEPCO at a time.

At any rate, one thing is for sure: the Japanese industries which were allegedly in the recuperation stage before March 11 will screech to a halt once again. This is what the Kan administration is empowering the bikini model to do.

Postscript 1: Mitsumaru Kumagai, the Chief Economist at Daiwa Institute of Research, estimates the effect of the cuts in power supply on the Japanese economy at 15 trillion yen, or $185 billion, per year which translates into 2.8% of GDP. This means nothing because Kumagai has based his estimate on an absurd assumption that the supply cuts by rotation is the only possible way to counter the situation.
Postscript 2: One of my sons, who is a little more electricity-literate, told me that he doubts scheduled blackouts for the entire service area of TEPCO, at a time rather than by rotation, would help minimize the loss of industrial outputs because electricity is not practically retrievable like gas or water. Yet, he agrees there must be a much smarter way to optimize the use of available resources. More importantly, it's Renho's responsibility and TEPCO's - not ours - to try hard to come up with a workable solution. The former bikini model, however, just keeps saying, "You guys should just tolerate. It's an emergency." They might tolerate on certain conditions: 1) she should give them specific plans to bring the power supply back to normalcy, and 2) she should tell the Imperial Family that they are no longer exempt.

Shintaro Ishihara, Tokyo Governor

With his face frowning,
Shintaro Ishihara could barely
empty the glass to secure
another term for the cushy

Another case in point is Tokyo Governor Ishihara who is now seeking his third term as if the annual income of 50 million yen for 8 years and "retirement" allowances of 500 million yen he has received twice were not enough. Amazingly enough, the bum is still one of the most popular political figures in Japan, especially in the capital.

On March 24, it was learned that water in the metropolitan reservoirs was contaminated with radioactive materials from the Fukushima power plant. Although he has been critical about the DPJ government, Ishihara thought he had to assure extremely gullible Tokyoite that they are still OK despite the alarming revelation.

Yesterday, he dared to drink a glass of water before the press corps, saying, "Tokyo no mizu wa anzen dakara kodomo ni nomasete mo daijoubu dayo - imanotokoro wa ne (Water in Tokyo is not so contaminated. You can let your children drink it - for the time being, that is.)"

Then, it somehow occurred to the brainless governor that he had to translate his message into English to make his water-drinking show more convincing. (This is a typical way of thinking here in this "docile satellite" of the American Empire.) He is an alumnus of the privileged Hitotsubashi University who always brags about having many influential friends in Washington. But unfortunately for him, he was unable to express his idea in a simple English sentence. So he tried to translate the last phrase of his message which was identical to Edano's favorite qualifier. (The Cabinet spokesman uses it a dozen times everyday.)

Ishihara said: "To put my words in English, we are basically OK 'so far as being time.'" Nobody present there blushed at Ishihara's English lecture. Small wonder the Japanese people have always respected him as an exceptionally highbrow person.

I hope you can imagine what it is like to get pushed around all the time by these idiots, at the expense of we taxpayers.

Political Truce

Thanks to the natural calamity aggravated by a manmade disaster, a political truce has been implemented here. Now this country is a real monolith where there is no place for a small number of sane people who have long been forgotten. We used to call this climate 大政翼賛会的風土 (Taisei Yokusankai teki Fudo) which has already proved the surest way to ruin.

Under the circumstances, we are now fed around the clock with an endless stream of supposedly touching stories about people coming together with the spirit of mutual aid. According to the March 25 edition of Tribune de Geneva, even yakuza criminals sent a fleet of trucks to the afflicted areas to provide food and other daily necessities to the survivors of the disaster, while some of the 100,000 soldiers from the Self-Defense Forces were just looking on.

In reality, though, quite a few swindlers are actively collecting monetary "donations" while supermarkets are running out of food, beverages, and other essential merchandises because of the panic buying.

The same thing is happening to Japan's international relations. With all the diplomatic rifts shelved, temporarily or not, millions of good folks around the world are extending a helping hand to the Japanese. Jacky Cheung and Vladimir Putin are not alone.

But hold on a second. Do you still think that Kan, Edano, Renho, Ishihara, et al. were not as incompetent before March 11? Actually, our suffering had started decades before the quake and tsunami came along, with tens of thousands of Japanese killing each other and selves every year. If you look at the following figures, you will understand the ongoing disaster is not a big deal. It just revealed something that had already been there.

Identified as Dead as of March 27 10,418 ---
Identified as Missing as of March 27 10,072 ---
Total Fatality Toll from the Quake and Tsunami as of March 27 20,490 See NOTE 1
Homicides in 2010 1,067 See NOTE 2
Traffic Fatality in 2010 4,863 ---
Suicides in 2010 31,690 ---
Total Death Toll from Homicides, Traffic Accidents and Suicides in 2010 37,620 ---

NOTE 1: The final death toll can top 30,000 because sometimes nobody could have filed a missing-person report with the authority when an entire family was swallowed by the tsunami.
NOTE 2: Roughly 1 million people die every year, but because of the lack of a coroner system here, 15% of the corpses are buried without going through an autopsy. On an educated guess basis, most of them are victims of murder. That would mean the number of homicide cases here is a gross understatement. My estimate is that there are at least several thousand victims of homicide.

Put it modestly, there's no reason to mourn for 30,000 or so victims of the once-a-millennium kind of calamity more than 40,000 or so people who fall victim to the rotten society every year.

As some have started to suspect recently, the government is just cashing in on the deadly quake and tsunami. That is why I call it a triplet disasters with the quake, tsunami and Kan all combined.

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