Saturday, August 29, 2009

Why Japan needs to change!

" Why Japan needs to change! " You know, this is the
kind of headline you find in the press here in Japan,
like a perpetual mantra type improvement - "kaizen"
orientated kind of slogan for a society looking for
its "Way" out of its isolation in the Pacific ocean

Japan relegated as a minor player in Asia, as a no
voiced heard in the world thanks to its imposing
protector the Usa and in the shadow of 2 neighboring
giants that are China and Russia has apparently
decided "to say no" after... 54 years of genuflection
and self indulgence.

Where to?

Sunday August 30th is the day when it might happen! A
peaceful transfer of power in a quasi politically
fossilized Japanese archipelago with no views on its
own future, no hopes for its citizen rights or no
clear knowledge of its geographical boundaries.

Japanese electorate seems to have decided that there
is a need for political change in a nation that has
been controlled by the conservative LDP, a US post
World War II sponsored party, for all but around a
year since its creation in 1955. The irony is that
both contenders Aso and Hatoyama are both heirs of
political family dynasty which created the post-war
"Japan economical miracle" thanks to Wall Street and
the Pentagone.

And then Obama momentum came...

Back to the future scenario? No, Hatoyama team has
lots of power makers that won't let themselves pulled
by exaggerated "Gaiatsu" (foreign pressure) as we saw
with the recent secret nuclear deal suddenly thrown in
the campaign debate.

It also transpires that no fundamental changes will
come from the new policy and that business as usual is
to be the best posture in dealing with Japan new

What is the Japan perception of a Foreign
Correspondent living and working in Japan since the
Heisei era started? Here are my views published in
the "Asahi Shimbun" August 27th.

The Asahi is the second biggest daily newspaper in
Japan with a circulation of over 11 million and is the
Japanese equivalent of France daily Le Monde or Le
Temps in Switzerland.

✍ Click the picture to read the article.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Astonish me, Monsieur Hatoyama!

Yukio Hatoyama, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)

Yukio Hatoyama leads the Democratic Party of Japan
favored to win the Japanese general election August
30th. This is quoted from Voice, September issue.


"How can we put an end to unrestrained market
fundamentalism and financial capitalism, that are void
of morals or moderation, in order to protect the
finances and livelihoods of our citizens? That is the
issue we are now facing. In these times, we must
return to the idea of fraternity — as in the French
slogan “liberté, égalité, fraternité” — as a force for
moderating the danger inherent within freedom..."

"... Our responsibility as politicians is to refocus
our attention on those non-economic values that have
been thrown aside by the march of globalism. We must
work on policies that regenerate the ties that bring
people together, that take greater account of nature
and the environment, that rebuild welfare and medical
systems, that provide better education and
child-rearing support, and that address wealth


"The economic order in any country is built up over
long years and reflects the influence of traditions,
habits and national lifestyles. But globalism has
progressed without any regard for non-economic values,
or for environmental issues or problems of resource

If we look back on the changes in Japanese society
since the end of the Cold War, I believe it is no
exaggeration to say that the global economy has
damaged traditional economic activities and destroyed
local communities.

In terms of market theory, people are simply personnel
expenses. But in the real world people support the
fabric of the local community and are the physical
embodiment of its lifestyle, traditions and culture.
An individual gains respect as a person by acquiring a
job and a role within the local community and being
able to maintain his family’s livelihood.

Under the principle of fraternity, we would not
implement policies that leave areas relating to human
lives and safety — such as agriculture, the
environment and medicine — to the mercy of globalism."


"I believe that the East Asian region, which is
showing increasing vitality, must be recognized as
Japan’s basic sphere of being. So we must continue to
build frameworks for stable economic cooperation and
security across the region...

... ASEAN, Japan, China (including Hong Kong), South
Korea and Taiwan now account for one quarter of the
world’s gross domestic product. The economic power of
the East Asian region and the interdependent
relationships within the region have grown wider and
deeper. So the structures required for the formation
of a regional economic bloc are already in place.

On the other hand, due to historical and cultural
conflicts as well as conflicting national security
interests, we must recognize that there are numerous
difficult political issues. The problems of increased
militarization and territorial disputes cannot be
resolved by bilateral negotiations between, for
example, Japan and South Korea, or Japan and China.
The more these problems are discussed bilaterally, the
greater the risk that emotions become inflamed and
nationalism intensified.

Therefore, I would suggest, somewhat paradoxically,
that the issues that stand in the way of regional
integration can only be truly resolved by moving
toward greater integration. The experience of the
E.U. shows us how regional integration can defuse
territorial disputes...

... I believe that regional integration and
collective security is the path we should follow
toward realizing the principles of pacifism and
multilateral cooperation advocated by the Japanese
Constitution. It is also the appropriate path for
protecting Japan’s political and economic independence
and pursuing our interests in our position between the
United States and China." End of quotes.