Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Seeming ineptitude of the incumbent Kan administration"

Chiura Obata "Setting Sun, Sacramento Valley", 1925

Here is what I wrote today November 11th, on NBR'S JAPAN FORUM on the subject:
"Seeming ineptitude of the incumbent Kan administration"

"Watching Japan for quite some years now, nearly 2
decades, including with the experience of working with
Japanese salary-men and interacting with Japanese,
Chinese, Korean firms of my sector of activity, the
international broadcasting news production, I cannot
see any real effort made by this current Japanese
administration to build consensus with the people who
elected or not Mr. Naoto Kan's party to this high
office and I would like to explain why.

Months ago, numerous reports in the foreign and
national media, especially in the US, were alarmed of
the difficulties of Japan after weeks of DPJ ruling.
Based on this observation, we decided to know more
about it and we spent a lot of time conducting
meetings and interviews, including hosting foreign
press events in Tokyo with rulers and entrepreneurs,
but also journeyed on the roads of this nation,
visited towns, harbors, fields and mountainous
villages of the archipelago where we tried to evaluate
the in-depth perception after the historical shift of
power following 50 years of LDP ruling.

An unfortunate conclusion was the answer. In the
majority of opinions, the impression of a betrayal
prevailed, the DPJ failed in its pledge to make the
people of this country happier or at least less
unhappy. A trend by the way acknowledged in very
recent surveys. Too often, unanimous answers were
provided by Japanese people who had the good will and
kindness to spare time with foreign reporters. No
major change, Japanese interviewees said, came in
their life after the very first months of power of the
Minshuto and even less today. On this forum, as an
echo to our facts finding work, we have had several
specialists able to analyze and to offer several
explanations of what went wrong here and why.

I certainly do not deny that "building consensus" is
indeed a natural trend and a sort of genuine
authenticity of the Japanese society included in
working practices especially if, in the subtext, we
are talking in a context of a traditional environment
of small and medium enterprises, farming communities
for instance. But for what is related to this
administration, following the constant embarrassment
it did to itself, as an NHK anchorman surprisingly
stated on air recently, people from all fields,
complained of the government's attitude and of its
bureaucracies and in particular pointed at the
Japanese ministry of Finance who, they said, rules and
destroys people and their lives, firms and
organizations, private or public. They always did
comment with calm and moderation.

As politicians Masuzoe and Watanabe often highlighted,
the bureaucracy of the MOF is "omnipotent" and
"abusive", using Diet members for accumulation of
unpopular governance with the result of instability
ruining the lives of many Japanese and foreign settled
workers, Asian et all [something Europeans have
endured for years with equally Brussels EU mammoth
bureaucracy]. And indeed during our months of down to
earth work, people always complained that the MOF
excels with the arrogance of bureaucrats turned
"feudal lords alike" killing smoothly what this
country was proud of and known for: "A certain art of
building trust, effort and harmony and being able to
face adversity," as one mayor of a famous city told me
a few days ago. I take his words for wise words as he
proved in the past decades that he could handle the
fate of an LDP ex-king maker involved in very serious

From the regions of Japan, as we emphasized, a
disillusioned anger, simple, basic, towards Kan's
administration is becoming more palpable while in the
same time the security of this country and of its
territory and waters is deserted into the hands of
"amateurs", as a major Japanese newspaper recently
commented. Is this anger, this whole context known and
heard from the operators of Nagatacho and Kasumigaseki
ministerial offices and the Kan administration and
will they shift methods? Apparently not.

Original here

"NBR, with full support and funding from the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC), launched in December 2000 an electronic discussion forum for those interested in issues surrounding Japan-U.S. relations, Japanese politics, economics, social issues, history, and security. The Japan Forum provides an opportunity for in-depth discussion among individuals who seek to further their understanding of contemporary Japanese affairs."

Sources: NBR, Reporter's Notes

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