Sunday, December 26, 2004

Japan rational versus anti-rational?

"As Sakai Taichi (former head of the Economic Planning
Agency) and others have argued, rationally thinking
economic and other leaders where opposed to the
irrational, anti-modern kind of nationalism supported by
the gunbu (Japan's military) in the thirties. Numerous
observers have stated that over the past few years
nationalism is on the rise in Japan, and that Koizumi
wants to make up for lack of support within his own
party (and elsewhere) by playing up to nationalist

Obviously the current situation cannot be compared to
the thirties, but it is still worth thinking about
whether it is appropriate to see a split in Japan's
larger community between the business community and some
other, anti-rational, nationalistic community. If that
is the case, the business community seems to be less
influential than has so often been argued. Or perhaps
some political/economic leaders want to play it both

Kurt W. Radtke, Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies,
Waseda University on NBR Forum ©.

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