Acid Tests

Friday, April 22 2011 @ 12:03 PM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto

Naoto Kan has long been out of his mind. The
headline simply reads: "The Prime Minister
is Nuts." For an obvious reason, the daily failed
to point out those who voted for him are
nuts, too.
As I have written a dozen times since 3/11, there always are people who can turn a disaster into a blessing for themselves by causing others an added suffering. Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan is a good example. According to the independent journal Nikkan Gendai, an unconfirmed report has it that on the day the quake and tsunami hit this country, Kan said to one of his close aides: "Hot dog! I can stay in office for two more years."

On April 20, the same daily wrote that when Kan took a secular pilgrimage several years ago to get purified of his political sin, his brain must have already been badly impaired. I think you will agree if you look at the surreal photo of this person. The obvious lesson to be learned here is that one has got to be a nutter, if he wants to benefit from a national crisis such as 3/11.

The reason the Japanese people haven't shown signs that they will revolt against the government anytime soon is quite simple: they have been so used to having such a leader in the last one and a half century. Just for one thing, in 1945, they had to endure twin disasters when a couple hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were incinerated while the bastard who had started the war from his palace was going to be acquitted of his responsibility.

All in all, 3/11 was the final confirmation that Japan is a dead country.

On the other side of the Pacific, the American people still make believe that despite their mounting frustration over Japanese ways of dealing with them, Japan is a nation that has unparalleled ability to "reinvent" itself over and over again as the stupid Harvard professor named Joseph Nye put it a little more than 3 months ago.

Masataka Shimizu, TEPCO's president, went down on his
knees before the evacuees and
press corps in Fukushima
Today the president of TEPCO, the power company whose sales totaled US$60 billion in 2010, visited one of the evacuation centers in Fukushima Prefecture and offered a tearful apology in the traditional dogeza position. Believe it or not, the on-site ritual tacitly staged by the media will certainly pave the way for the government to make up for the consequences of its mishandling of the crisis with taxpayers' money.

If many Americans still remain believers in Japan's viability after viewing this image, their country is also terminally ill, and most probably doomed to failure very soon.

They should know these zombies exactly mirror the way they will be tomorrow, if not today.

As to the massive relief operation by the U.S., code-named Tomodachi (friendship), the vast majority of people on both sides of the Pacific think it's a touching display of genuine altruism. It's nothing new to note Japanese dupes haven't learned that there is no such thing as a free lunch despite the fact in the last 150 years, they have repeatedly fallen victim to America's fatherly imperialism. But now even in the U.S., only a small number of people know that in reality, any country, or any individual for that matter, can't be that selfless.

There are several speculations. Some are saying, Washington will, in return, ask Tokyo to write off part of its holding in U.S. Treasury Bonds (roughly $5.7 trillion) because the Republicans are currently blocking the Obama administration from raising the ceiling on sovereign debt. Perhaps they are right, but I still believe Okinawa is one of the reasons behind Operation Tomodachi.

As any sane person can tell, it was the surest way to ruin for an ailing country such as the U.S. to have grown this dependent on a failing country such as Japan.

In recent years I have lost one American friend after another over my harsh words against them. It can't be helped because today's Americans are too arrogant and self-complacent to accept the fact that there is no such thing as a truth that does not hurt. But I still hope their country is not yet done for, as long as there are some, if not many, Americans who are sober enough to see my points, which are nothing more than a matter of commonsense.

A couple of days ago I came across an American on my website. His user name is Diogenes. By this unusual handle, he means the Greek philosopher known as "Diogenes of Sinope" (412 or 404-323 BCE). He wrote to me, offline, like this:

"Diogenes wandered around with a lantern during the day, looking for one honest man. It looks like I can extinguish my lantern now because I've found one in Japan."

Although I don't think I really deserve his compliment, it was very heartening to know there still are a small number of Americans who value commonsense and honesty more than anything else. He relit my hope for the resilience of America.

But I think the American people have thus far seemed to be flunking the acid test given by the catastrophe of 3/11.

Even in my private life, I have realized through my acid tests that some of my kin and local friends are not really kin or friends. For one thing, my elder son didn't ask his 75-year-old dad if he was OK when the big quake hit the northern half of Japan's coastal area facing the Pacific. We will remain friends because I don't have any grudge toward him. The guy had to care more about his wheelchair-bound wife, his mother (my ex), and his colleagues working for him. If you are a people person like my son, you don't have to be committed to everybody simply because, lip service aside, that is impossible. This is especially true in the face of a crisis. Needless to say, though, it's a different story if you are the leader of a country.

On the other hand, thank God some others have proved to be real ones. My young girlfriend, for one, sent me a text message immediately after her handset device resumed working. She said the moment she felt a jolt, she thought of his old boyfriend. To me that is more than enough.

For these reasons, I think a crisis sometimes does me a favor on the premise that I always keep my courage to face the reality of life.

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