Monday, 17 October 2005


Am having real trouble thinking of what to write about this week – think my muse may be coming to an end. I put this down to two reasons, first is that I am too busy at work to stop and think at the moment, just too much shit going on. Second, all my time at home now goes into keeping the young ‘un happy/fed/watered/changed/etc, which doesn’t leave an awful lot of time for other things, such as thinking what to write in a blog – this will become even harder from the start of November when I am officially meant to start the mba studying all over again (oh shit!). And third (ok, three reasons), nothing interesting seems to be happening in Japan right now. I mean, we’ve had the election, that got a bit stimulating for a while, and before we had scandals and Kool Kid Koizumi – Krazy Kim double act for a while, but all seems to have gone quiet. The Yasukuni Shrine thing is still rumbling on after the three different rulings from three local high courts here, and I see that the Kid visited the shrine again today (mainly as it was raining and therefore he could avoid the crowds, very important when you turn up on a push bike, which I’m sure he did as he was visiting as a private citizen) but even that is old kind f news these days as it just goes on and on and on and etc.

Having said that, I noticed one comedy or errors this morning that raised a smile – in a speech in Ishikawa prefecture, former PM Yoshio Mori pointed out that 4 potential candidates to take over from the Kid when he retires look to be good bets for cabinet posts (he’s a sharp cookie, is old Yoshio). Anyway this is a comedy of errors, in my view, for two reasons (and it will be two this time), first is that Yoshio Mori was the most useless of PM’s that anyone can remember in Japan for a long, long time (e.g. “Japan is a divine nation with the Emperor at its heart” (everyone thinks this but you are not allowed to say it out loud, especially if you are the PM)), so backing from Mori should the kiss of death for any aspiring to be PM – except, in a perverse show of the topsy-turvy world of Japanese politics, Mori heads one of the most powerful factions in the LDP and thus has a great deal of influence (as incompetence is not, and has never been, a barrier to promotion for Japanese).

Anyway the four would be new PM’s are Shinzo Abe (acting LDP Gen. Sec.); Taro Aso (internal affairs); Sadakazu Tanigaki (finanace); and Yasuo Fukuda (currently of no fixed abode). Now where is this all going and where is point number two you were on about earlier? I hear you cry. Well now, if the name Yasuo Fukuda above seems familiar to you, it might be that I have written about this bloke before, here to be precise, way back in May 2004. Just to recap, this guy didn’t pay his pension contributions for a period of time in the 1990s and then basically lied to parliament about it, saying that he had, unlike other nefarious non payers, but he got found out, the cheeky blighter and whilst it is one thing to have financial hiccoughs in Japan, it is quite another to accuse others of what you’ve done while covering your own ass, and then get found out. So anyway he did the honourable thing at the time and resigned from his position of Chief Cabinet Secretary and went home to indulge in his passion for collecting antique toothpicks (possibly). Now in any normal country, a scandal that precipitated a resignation from a cabinet post would mean a life demoted to the back benches, if not out of politics altogether – it would not mean a return to a cabinet post, with a view to a tilt and Prime Ministerial windmill, a scant 18 months later.

But like I said earlier, incompetence, or scandal, is no barrier to success in this country, it would seem. But of course, the corrupt and scandalous Fukuda is a prominent member of the generally useless and gaffe prone ex-PM Mori’s über powerful faction in the LDP, and if isn’t a worrying political prospect for Japan, then I don’t know what is.


Just seen this over at Ippoippo - seems that Taro Aso decided that he was not going to be outdone by generally useless and gaffe prone ex-PM Mori, or indeed by corrupt and scandalous Fukuda, so decided that he would make his own amsing proclamation by describing Japan as having "one nation, one civilization, one language, one culture and one race. It is nowhere else in other nations," in a speech during an opening ceremony on Saturday of the Kyushu National Museum in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture. Again almost all Japanese believe this (generalising massively and in no way scientifically as I go), but again, it is not the sort of thing you are meant to say out loud, especially at a public gathering if you are etc

The Ainu up in Hokkaido will be in whole hearted agreement with the small minded Mr Aso, I have no doubt...

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