Short Takes: Gov Still Clueless After All These Years

02/22/2011
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TOKYO (majirox news) – They just don’t seem to get it, do they? Last night on the popular late night news show Hodo (report) Station the news switched momentarily from the rioting in Libya to the new lows hit by the government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan. According to Hodo Station opinion polls, support for Kan’s policies now stands at 11%.

“What’s more, support for the two major parties are at historical lows,” pointed out the broadcasters. “The Liberal Democratic Party, LDP, is supported by around 23% of the population and the ruling Democracy Party of Japan, DPJ, by 21%. “Even together they couldn’t form a majority government”.

Today Moody’s Investor Service weighed in with its opinion of Japan’s economy and political leadership, changing Japan’s bond rating from Aa2 stable to Aa2 negative. “It’s the economy, stupid,” as President Clinton once said.

Moody’s action itself is not a downgrade per se, but more like a warning shot across the bows—or as they would call it in the economics world, “a change of outlook.”

“The rating action was prompted by heightened concern that economic and fiscal policies may not prove strong enough to achieve the government’s deficit reduction policy and contain the inexorable rise in debt, which is already above levels of other advanced economies,” was the message from Moody’s.

Translated into layman’s language this means Japan is rudderless and drifting. Reports from the Naikakufu, the research office of the Prime Minister, suggest deepening economic pessimism, pervasive throughout all levels of society.

When time tested solutions work no longer, new ways of thinking are necessary. But how? This is the greatest problem facing Japanese society today.

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3 Responses to Short Takes: Gov Still Clueless After All These Years

  1. Eli on 02/22/2011 at 10:57 pm

    This is just my opinion ofcourse, but it might help if they had a Prime Minister who stuck around for more than a year at a time.

    What’s interesting to me is this:
    “The Liberal Democratic Party, LDP, is supported by around 23% of the population and the ruling Democracy Party of Japan, DPJ, by 21%. “Even together they couldn’t form a majority government”.

    Do most people here just not care? Do they expect the government to fix itself without input from the populace? Do they vote consistantly in the same way despite not supporting the party they’re voting for?

  2. Hugh Ashton on 02/23/2011 at 9:59 am

    The problem is not that “the government” is clueless. Kan is a politician who has some original ideas that have not been tried before. He does have a vision which goes outside the 50-year box of LDP thinking. His problem is that he doesn’t come from the political aristocracy (Koizumi, Abe, Fukuda, Aso, Hatoyama all did), and he has little Establishment support for that reason.

    The DPJ finds itself in a tight spot – since the LDP ran a de facto single-party state for so long, the bureaucrats naturally aligned themselves with the LDP and entwined themselves closely with that party and way of thinking. No wonder Hatoyama couldn’t solve the Futenma “problem” – he had zero support and help from the bureaucrats, who are counting the days till the LDP returns and the money troughs start filling up again.

    Japan is going through the same problems as any single-party state once the single-party system has been smashed – a feeling of helplessness, and a readjustment of the balance of power as all players struggle to find their feet in a now dangerously fluid world. Even the LDP have no experience of being the opposition, so they continue with the only game they know – obstruction and smears. It’s unfair to blame Kan for being unable to move 50 years of fossilization almost single-handed in less than one year.

    What’s the answer? I don’t know, but then no-one asks me and pays for my advice.

  3. Mari on 02/27/2011 at 1:49 pm

    They don’t know what they’re doing.
    Mari

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