Three Distinctive Types of Pathological Liars

Monday, September 05 2011 @ 08:28 AM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto

This is a rewrite of my previous post. I just wanted to further clarify my points.

Left: Yasuo Ichikawa, Defense Minister (Type 1)
Center: Yoshio Hachiro, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (Type 1)
Right: Jun Azumi, Finance Minister (Type 1)

When former Prime Minister Naoto Kan took office 15 months ago, a prominent pundit in the U.S. promised Japan's bright future under the "first truly new" leadership. It didn't take long, however, until Kan proved yet another incompetent and unscrupulous leader, but the pundit didn't blush for a split second. He didn't even feel obliged to post a correction anywhere on the web. That made the person I used to admire a liar.

Now that Yoshihiko Noda took office as the seventh Prime Minister in five years, the self-styled prophet looks to have resumed circulating a fake picture of Japan's rosy future for - how many times it was he did that. But if he still claims to be a political analyst specializing in Northeast Asia, he should know his job is NOT to count the number of the Prime Ministers who have come and gone through the revolving door, but to analyze the situation to identify the real reason behind the political volatility inherent to this society. On August 27, however, he already wrote that the U.S. government should "stand firmly behind Japan [under the new leadership] to help Tokyo become the anchor of the arc of freedom and prosperity." After all, he has learned nothing from his repeated mispredictions in the last several years. Or, should I say he has learned too much?

On this side of the Pacific, Kan's approval rating had plummeted to 13% before his resignation at the end of August. But in a matter of 24 little hours since Noda took over the premiership, we were told to see a V-shaped turnaround of the cabinet approval rating. According to the mainstream media, it was polled at somewhere between 60-70%. These figures were certainly unaudited and most probably fabricated, but to make the results of their surveys look a little plausible, shameless pollsters didn't forget to add that poll results at this stage were somewhat inflated with pollees' high expectation for the new administration. But of course, it's a lie because expectation is one thing and approval is quite another.

So the question to be asked is why the approval rating shot up so dramatically even before Noda took a single step to rectify the messy situation his predecessor has left behind. The new Prime Minister has so far avoided specifically mentioning any backlog issue because he knows he is one of the primary accomplices in Kan's crime. No sane person would believe he can give a new perspective to these problems unless he officially admitted all the sin he committed as the Finance Minister of the now-defunct Kan administration.

One of his headaches which still hangs in the air is the stunning revelation that the Democratic Party of Japan has had cozy relations with a shady group of Japanese which has covertly fronted the North Korean government for many years. (See FOOTNOTES 1, 2.) In July, some hawkish elements in the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, such as Shoji Nishida, could deliver the final blow to the already-faltering Prime Minister and his cabinet when they brought up to the surface the fact that Kan and his colleagues had "donated" more than 200 million yen to the organization closely connected to the main culprit of the 1970 hijacking of JAL's Yodo-go and one of the perpetrators of the series of "abductions" of Japanese citizens.

When Sakie Yokota, de facto spokeswoman of the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea, learned these facts, she reportedly said, "Now I'm totally at a loss over who to trust. I want to vomit."

As I have already told my audience, the aforementioned pundit interviewed Yokota in 2004 at a coffee shop in central Tokyo. Two years later, he wrote: "[Abductee Megumi Yokota's] parents symbolize the transformation of ordinary Japanese citizens from the meek and mild to the assured and assertive." Although the American writer has been playing dumb about the new revelation, the "assured and assertive" woman was dying for a shoulder to cry on. But now that she found someone to trust in the new Prime Minister, Yokota has resumed whining in the way she has been whining for the last 34 years.

The learning disability coupled with extreme mood swing Yokota and other Japanese have shown throughout these turbulent years tells you they are incredibly immature people. After all, Douglas MacArthur was absolutely right. At the same time, these symptoms are an unmistakable evidence that they are suffering an incurable mental illness named self-deception. Of course, this is not to say American people are mentally sound, by contrast.

I became really confused. Who are deceiving whom, how and what for? Now in an attempt to sort this all out, I pondered how to classify these mythomaniacs in a meaningful way. As a result, I have identified three distinctive types (FOOTNOTE 3) as shown below:

Type 1: Ignorant Liars. They are uneducated and/or retarded. So when they lie, they are not aware that they are lying. All they can do is to parrot what they hear from Type 2 liars purely on an ear-to-mouth basis. Their proliferation, especially in Japan, has by far outpaced the growth of the Type 2 population because people all believe - or make believe, to be more precise - in the myth that an ignorant person can never be a villain.

Type 2: Deliberate Liars. Most of them are highly-educated and relatively well-informed professionals, but they only talk about raw facts that fit into their delusive ideologies. These surface-scratchers never really analyze things because they don't have to.

Type 3: Hypocrites. At times they can tell the truth but never act accordingly. What they do has nothing to do with what they say.

When Yoshihiko Noda was elected to succeed Naoto Kan as Prime Minister, he exquisitely portrayed himself as Dojo, a Japanese loach that prefers murky water around rice paddies to fresh water of limpid streams. Whether it's a loach or a roach, Noda expressly contrasted himself with Kingyo, the showy goldfish. With this analogy, he wanted to say that he may look ugly and fatuous unlike his predecessor and former boss but he is a guileless, harmless and unpretentious person. Noda knows very well that deprecating himself in such a humble way is the best way to dupe the world's most gullible people into believing he is an honest and reliable person. This way the new Prime Minister has succeeded in impressing himself favorably on predominantly Type 1 people at home and abroad.

Noda was not deliberately lying when he likened himself to Dojo, but he wasn't telling the truth when he implicitly likened his predecessor to Kingyo. Actually, his way of differentiating himself from his predecessor was reminiscent of the way Kan contrasted himself with Ichiro Ozawa to defend his premiership against the challenge from the scandal-tainted rival 12 months ago. It didn't take long, however, until Kan proved as unscrupulous as Ozawa, the central figure in this kleptocracy.

I think Noda should be classified as Type 1 himself, while Kan is a little closer to Ozawa who should be placed in Type 2.

Mythomaniacs in the media are saying it's too soon to really size up Noda's ability because the new Prime Minister still remains an unknown. It's media's modus operandi to buy time until it is too late. In fact, though, we can already size him up because at least, Noda has named his cabinet members.

As I wrote in my previous post, Noda's appointment to the head of the Democratic Party of Japan was nothing but a result of the power dynamics currently prevailing in the party. It's small wonder that he handpicked his cabinet members based solely on the traditional criteria called 派閥均衡 (Habatsu Kinko, or balancing power among intraparty factions,) under the guise of 適材適所 (Tekizai Tekisho, or the principle of putting the right people to the right positions.)

One of these right people is Yasuo Ichikawa, who was put in charge of the Defense Ministry. Actually, he has no defense expertise, whatsoever, because he is a former bureaucrat in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. At his inaugural press conference, Ichikawa reportedly said, "To be honest with you, I'm an amateur. But I think the more you are in the dark about defense, the more you can ensure the adherence to the principle of civilian control." Obviously, the idiot is Type 1. That means he will blindly follow any instruction given by Leon Panetta even more than his predecessors did. As usual, my sympathy goes to the islanders of Okinawa, Japan's last colony.

Another "right person put in the right place" is Yoshio Hachiro who was appointed to take charge of economy, trade and industry. Born into a farming family in Hokkaido, Hachiro worked in an agricultural cooperative for many years before getting into politics. Except for the primary sector, therefore, he has no knowledge in the formidable problems deep rooted in Japan's industrial structure.

His first job as head of the METI is to take part in the annual APEC Leaders Meeting to be held in November in Hawaii. On the sidelines of the meeting, Hachiro is supposed to talk with Rebecca Blank, Acting Secretary of U.S. Commerce Department, or whoever his dotted-line boss will be, over Japan's participation in the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPP.) He knows deep inside that it's inevitable for him to eventually cave in to the undue demand by the U.S. But his negotiation skills will be evaluated solely in terms of how long he can procrastinate with his muddled words before patience wears thin on the part of his U.S. counterpart. Hachiro has already promised farmers in his constituency that he will "sweat a lot."

Japanese politicians at large seem to think "sweat" is a very usable word when they are at a loss over what to do. It's as though they think perspiration serves as an alibi for their inaction in the face of a conflict between two irreconcilable interests. Hachiro is no exception. I think he is self-deceptive enough to be classified as Type 1.

Another Type 1 is Jun Azumi, new Finance Minister. He is a former NHK reporter, which means he is a habitual liar. Worse, Azumi doesn't have the slightest idea about finance. Just like the Dojo did when he was appointed to the same post by Kan 15 months ago, Azumi will hastily purchase an outdated textbook which tells him the fairy tale that the money markets are basically governed by the economic fundamentals everywhere in the world. As a result, he will always act like a chick surrounded by vultures.

In early August, his predecessor Noda ordered the Bank of Japan to step into currency markets to stem the further depreciation of the greenback. To that end, the BOJ bought the U.S. currency worth 4.5 trillion yen. The pointless intervention caused Japan an appraisal loss of 100 billion yen overnight. I'm sure Azumi will repeat the same folly over and over again during his tenure.

In the worst case, the amateur Finance Minister can be duped into granting the debt-ridden U.S. government a moratorium on $882 billion-worth Treasury securities held by Japan as of December 2010.

Now I hope you can see how effectively Type 2 liars in the U.S. are helping their government suck the Japanese to the bare bones through their local collaborators who are all Type 1. All they've had to do to achieve their malicious goal is to disseminate the delusive notion about "the arc of freedom and prosperity." I know there are a small number of Americans who would agree to my accusation against their government. Unfortunately, though, they are all Type 3.

FOOTNOTE 1: When Kan finally announced he would step down, there were many other irregularities coming to the surface including the collusive relations Noda and Seiji Maehara have had with corporations closely affiliated with yakuza syndicates. Last week on YouTube, Shoji Nishida, the star among the investigative lawmakers in the LDP, declared an all-out war against these guys. In his video, the CPA-turned politician promised that these cases will develop into full-blown scandals, which will thwart Dojo's ambition in a matter of months. He is also known to be a puppet of the Ministry of Finance. But fortunately for the loach, it's not illegal in Japan to have collusive relations with bureaucrats.

FOOTNOTE 2: Maehara, former Foreign Minister, is Washington's pet boy as is evident from what the Type 2 liar I mentioned in this post wrote on August 27. It goes: "At the moment, the front-runner to replace Kan is Seiji Maehara. the former foreign minister, who resigned in March in the wake of a minor contribution scandal. He would be a strong friend of the United States." It is true that as local media are saying, a donation of 0.59 million yen is a peanut, and from Washington's point of view, there's nothing wrong with receiving money from a South Korean. But as anyone with commonsense can tell from his unusually quick resignation, what has been brought to surface is the tip of the iceberg. Moreover, it's an open secret here that the self-styled hawk has also had a cozy relations with North Korea. Type 2 liars are a rare species in Japan, but Maehara looks to be one. Sometimes he can even outsmart his American friends because his rightward tilt is not as simple as American conservatives'.

FOOTNOTE 3: It can't be helped if you think I am a Cretan who says all Cretans are liars. But at least, I don't fall under any one of these classifications. Believe me, it's not that I was born to be more honest than you guys. I can't help but see, tell and live the truth simply because I've been hovering around the poverty line.

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