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Welcome to TokyoFreePress Wednesday, March 01 2017 @ 01:44 AM JST
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Comparisons among two governors and a mayor

This is a re-post of the same piece which appeared in another section of this blog in September last year.

It's sometimes a useful way to evaluate what Shintaro Ishihara has done thus far and who he is to compare the current Tokyo Governor with someone in a position similar to his. The following are two examples of such sketchy comparison:
If I am to compare him with Rudolph Giuliani, the former NYC Mayor really eclipses the current Tokyo Governor. On the surface they may look pretty much alike. But actually the single-minded former NYC Mayor did a splendid job when he put the "Broken Windows Theory" into practice, whereas the Tokyo Governor, the backyard bully, has done nothing but bully Korean owners of pachinko parlors. Besides, he has turned a blind eye to one of the Japan's biggest concentrations of disguised whorehouses in the same neighborhood where sits his high-rise Metropolitan Government's Headquarters building. Ishihara's police department (TMPD) keeps lending helping hand to more or less yakuza-affiliated bathhouses and the like by subtly legitimatizing the highly institutionalized prostitution by ordinances. · read more (240 words)
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Yasuo Tanaka's new initiative faces formidable tasks ahead

In the last five years since Yasuo Tanaka, 49, took office as the Governor of Nagano Prefecture, he has delivered a lot of things on his campaign pledge about a "Nagano Revolution." Most importantly he has given an equal opportunity for everyone to take part in civil engineering projects which were once monopolized by big businesses, while at the same time killing unnecessary or unaffordable projects such as redundant dam constructions. The admirable accomplishments have confirmed that a reform from bottom up can succeed even in Japan if it's attempted at the right time, at the right place, and most importantly by the right person.

In stark contrast to the Nagano's experiment, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara has failed simply because the 70-year-old wasn't the right person. Before taking office, he had already been a loser in his pursuit of a "reform from within" on the scenes of national politics.

One of the most recent revelations that showed things have essentially remained unchanged in the Tokyo government is the falsification of the test data on the "Diesel Particulate Filters" by one of the major contractors of the metropolitan government, Mitsui & Co. The trading conglomerate based in Tokyo has kept "cheating" the Tokyo Metropolitan Government since February 2002 by submitting falsified test data on the filters to win a lucrative contract along with a multi-billion subsidy from the Transportation Bureau of the Metropolitan Government. It's only as recently as December 2004 that Governor Ishihara started to threaten that he would refuse to accept apologies offered by Mitsui "from the bottom of (their) hearts" and that he would take the trading company to court.
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Transparent trick to gloss over the dilemma

Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara has always been a self-proclaimed rebel since the days he wrote, as a young "novelist", an award-winning crap titled "Season of the Sun" (taiyo no kisetsu). · read more (619 words)

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Ishihara comparisons

It's sometimes useful for evaluating what Shintaro Ishihara has done thus far and what he actually is to compare the current Tokyo Governor with someone in a position similar to his. The following are two examples of such sketchy comparison:



If I am to compare him with Rudolph Giuliani, the former NYC Mayor really eclipses the current Tokyo Governor. On the surface they may look pretty much alike. But actually the single-minded former NYC Mayor did a splendid job when he put the "Broken Windows Theory" into practice, whereas the Tokyo Governor, the backyard bully, has done nothing but cause distress for Korean owners of pachinko parlors. Besides, he has turned a blind eye to one of the Japan's biggest concentrations of disguised whorehouses in the same neighborhood where sits his high-rise Metropolitan Government's Headquarters building. Ishihara's police department (TMPD) keeps lending helping hand to more or less yakuza-affiliated bathhouses and the like by subtly legitimatizing the institutionalized prostitution by ordinances and yakuza-friendly interpretation of them.


When compared to Yasuo Tanaka, Ishihara is again outshone by far by the Nagano Governor. Both governors have many things in common. They graduated from Hitotsubashi University. After the graduation, both men chose to get into a writing career. But unlike Tanaka, Ishihara went into national politics with his empty promise about a "Revolution inside the System" only to fail to deliver anything he had promised to the voters. On the other hand, Tanaka chose to go directly into local politics as his second career. So he doesn't owe his supporters a concession speech as his counterpart in Tokyo does since 1989. And his catchword about an ambitious "Nagano Revolution" is much more a real thing. With his top-notch learning ability, he is testing the limit at every step when taking bold measures for his bottom-up reform. Although my way of viewing Tanaka may look naive and too schmaltzy, what the down-to-earth Governor is up to always reminds me of a famous line in Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List". Toward the end of that film, the old accountant Stern says to Schindler, his boss, when handing him a ring as a token of appreciation: "(The inscription inside the ring) is Hebrew. It says, 'Whoever saves one life saves the world'." Ishihara should have learned by now, if he had an average learning ability, that is, it can never be the other way around. I am not sure if Tanaka's pursuit of Nagano Revolution will ultimately succeed. And yet one thing is for sure. No matter whether he succeeds, he will never regret having given it a try the hardest way.
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Governor Ishihara, your concession speech is 15 years overdue now

According to the nation-wide survey conducted by the Yomiuri Shimbun in early July 2004, you ranked as low as No.10, in terms of popularity, among Japan's prefectural governors.

Although you still fared much better than Nagano Governor Yasuo Tanaka with an approval rating of 63.8% that compared to Tanaka's discouraging showing of 35.6%, it's obvious you are now quickly losing ground. The same survey showed you ranked No.1 in terms of annual salary with a mouth-watering JPY 61.03 million while your counterpart in Nagano Prefecture pocketed a modest JPY 13.17 million. But that only indicates justice does not prevail in your domain.

The most recent news reports had it that when breaststroke swimmer Kosuke Kitajima won gold medals in Athens, you said, perhaps scratching your head, you would keep your word that you had given to the athlete: If he won a medal or two, you would buy him Korean barbecue dinner every night for the next couple of years. Some newspapers speculated that this would cost you more than JPY 7 million. You reportedly added that you would pay Kitajima's barbecue bills from your "pocket money". This mindless chat with your entourage from the press somehow confirms once again that you are done even as a local politician.

Five years ago you landed this highly-paid position at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's headquarters. At that time Tokyo citizens, millions of them, voted for the wrong candidate because ten years earlier, your half-hearted attempt for a "Revolution Inside the System", the empty rhetoric that dates back to the late-1960s, had already been aborted. Worse, you had failed all along to learn your lessons from your defeat in the 1989 LDP presidential election. In my opinion the only time the LDP has ever done the right thing was when it chose Toshiki Kaifu, yet another mediocre politician, though, over you in the election to avoid even more disastrous consequences.

Ever since you have looked and sounded like an underdog. In 1998 you pulled yourself together once again and decided to substitute the Tokyo governorship for the nation's premiership in your failed pursuit of an insatiable ambition. By that time, however, you had conveniently forgotten your empty promise for Revolution Inside the System.

Although it's not your type of reading, you must have felt ashamed if you had read "The Gorbachev Factor" by Archie Brown. The last president of the Soviet Union, known to be an ardent advocate of "reform from within", really eclipses you. Archie Brown theorizes that Mikhail Gorbachev could climb the "greasy pole" that led him to the top, while keeping his reformist mindset miraculously intact because of his integrity and learning ability. Without these qualities Gorby would not have succeeded in reforming the almost unreformable system, if it meant the collapse of the Soviet Union. Apparently this integrity was not bestowed upon you, and your learning curve is too flat.

It's about time you have retired and shut your mouth, for good. And make no mistake, we do not look forward to reading yet another scribble you will most probably author. For one thing, it's far from enough today just to say "No" to anyone on anything in a complex world like this one, as the late Akio Morita, the co-founder of SONY, looked to have realized, shortly after he carelessly co-authored the crap with you. I even suspect, judging from your extremely poor English skills, it's just that all you could say in English is this two-letter word.

If this is not enough to convince you to bow out, prematurely or not, you should refer to other articles in this blog that elaborate on the warm-headed and cold-hearted person, that you are. There is a forum devoted to the current Tokyo Governor.

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