Goodness it was over 2 months ago since I posted about the centenarians – where does the time go…? Anyway,
Political news now
I have little time for most politicos, it’s all about self interest and not about running a country properly, or even trying to most of the time. But about Japanese politicos I am even more in despair – I just don’t know why they bother. If there wasn’t actually a prime minister I don’t actually think it would make the slightest bit of difference to the country as a whole. OK, there might have to be a top level game of ‘paper, scissors, stone’ (or the j-equivalent ‘junken’) to decide who goes to the [insert name of international conference here] this week to stand at the back, not say anything and then come home and be criticised, or there might be an unseemly tussle if Carla Bruni comes a-visiting and someone has to shake her hand (or other stately appendage), but otherwise Japan would probably quite happily carry on with no head of state, or rather with the faceless grey bureaucrats and the plain grey emperor. But anyway they do have a PM so I’d better write about him.
Actually it’s not about him, the Man Who Kan, I am going to write, it’s about his erstwhile Moriarty, Ichiro Ozawa. OK, this is all old news, but hey, I’ve been busy. So Ozawa is the oldest of old skool, he is only in politics for one reason – himself. Pockets to line, plebs to rule over, god given right to lord it over other people with the expectation that they will thank him for doing so. I don’t like him, if you can’t guess.
Anyway a few months ago a probe was started into some alleged falsification of his financial reports by him and his little minions. At this time Ozawa was a serious heavyweight in the Democratic Party of Japan, a contender for future PM if he could avoid scandal. Now, as we know the DPJ had been out of power for decades until the The Hat came along and won an election. He then ballsed it all up over Okinawa and fell on his sword, as reported here before, and then The Man Who took over. So, new government formed for the still fledgling DPJ ruling classes, what better thing to do than launch a hostile bid for the leadership, just for a laugh. So that’s what Ozawa did.
Now, the timing of this, as you can see, is a bit odd. OK, the DPJ, according its constitution I think (a constitution that needs some serious revision by the sound of it) have to have a leadership contest – but as a party, if you’ve just been through a messy divorce with the standing PM and your popularity is shaky to say the least, you do not want the party ripped apart from the inside by an extremely partisan leadership contest. So, someone needs have a word with the potential leadership contenders along the lines of ‘this is a really delicate time, a time for unity, so there won’t be any challengers, will there…?’
Unfortunately the possibly most-appropriate person to have this little chat is our friend Ozawa, controller of the largest faction in the DPJ, but his chat is more like ‘Come on! Where are all the fighters in this town!?’ So he throws his hat in the ring.
All the while this is going on the investigation into his ‘financial irregularities’ is in full swing and the evidence is pointing increasingly strongly to the fact that he is a lying, cheating bastard (he’s a politician, as if there is any doubt!). His response to this is a simple ‘fuck you!’ to the investigators, reporters and general population of Japan.
So now we have a spot of internecine warfare in the DPJ and not just a little bit but a full on battle front as Ozawa is an important figure in the party who then gets endorsed by ex-PM, and current waste of space The Hat, and the very real possibility that, if Ozawa wins, he will become the first PM to be indicted whilst running the country (as well as the small matter of being something like the 3rd PM in 12 months).
The saving grace is the election process – now I won’t claim to understand the whole shebang, but basically the election votes are divided between (I think) the equivalent of the power-blocs in the Parliamentary party and the rank and file members. In the parliamentary party the votes are reasonably even between Ozawa and Kan, but the rank-and-file, who have been watching as this idiot Ozawa tries to destroy their attempt at government, are horrified at the prospect of him being PM and so are in favour of Kan by about 8-2.
In the end, of course, the election was won by the Man Who with the votes going almost exactly along the lines above. Was Ozawa repentant? Of course not, probably do it all again. The happy news is that he will be prosecuted by the police for the financial irregularities, but not before he threatened to sue the entire panel that came up with the indictment in the first place – his defence being ‘You can’t do that, don’t you know who I am?’ and other such choice defensive posturing. I’d like to think that’s the last we’ll ever hear of the inestimable Ichiro Ozawa, but I have the horrible impression that he will somehow avoid prosecution and bide his time whilst the Man Who inevitably cocks something up and then step into the leadership vacuum. Will be a sad day for Japan if it happens…
Holiday news now
Lock up your daughters, Mr Sexy Peasant is a-coming home for Christmas! Or something like that. Yes, we will be back to Blighty for festive celebrations from December 17th to, I think, 3rd January.
Already I have been instructed to present myself and family at a photo studio in Crowthorne (I know, who’d have thought it!) for family picture snappage – though worryingly father parental has mentioned something about having smart clothes with us for a ‘formal’ shot (golf-playing-brother is the organiser (I know, who’d have thought that adjective could be applied to that person!)). Anyway word to the wise, we will not have much in the way of formal clothes with us, not with normal clothes, Christmas presents and a small child with us.
And now, a brief mention of house guests
We have a house guest by the name of Adam – he is the nephew of a friend of the family and, unlike most 18 year olds (well, unlike most 18 year olds I knew when I was 18 (as I don’t really know very many now)) he doesn’t drink, take drugs or smoke – maybe he isn’t really 18… but he is jolly polite and somewhat diffident.
Anyway he’s here as he has a deep and abiding interest in Japan that needs knocking out of him so he’s staying with us for a couple of weeks. He arrived on Saturday evening looking slightly bewildered by it all, though he had been on a plane for 12 hours and had used, so he told me, one of paper bags that most people just make fun of.
Yesterday the Guru, youngster and I had to go to Meiji Jingu shrine near Harajuku for some serious feng shui praying (don’t ask me) so took Adam along with us. Then we wandered back through Harajuku to Shibuya and thence to Shinjuku and a ride to the top of the TMG building for a look over Tokyo’s sprawl. All very pleasant but at the time a little, niggling worry as whenever we asked ‘where you like to go and see now?’, he didn’t really know. Hmm, thought yours truly, so taking the bull by the horns when we got home I asked him outright, ‘what are your plans for the next 2 weeks?’ to which I got the reply;
‘Er, I don’t know really – maybe go to Kyoto and I’d like to climb Mt Fuji’
So you’ll have done a lot of research, then? Yes, you can climb Fuji in late-October but you tend to have to be an experienced climber with the full kit as snow has already dusted the top of the mountain. And Kyoto, good, that’s a couple of days, what about the rest?
OK, so maybe he is like any other 18 year old; lots of ideas but a bit lacking in the preparation department.