Battle Lines

Had an interesting conversation with 宇宙人 about how 民主党 (DPJ) could possibly expect to enact radical change in Japan when all the decisions were informed by the bureaucracy:

Cabinet meeting agendas would no longer be set by unelected administrative vice-ministers, while the practice of amakudari, or descent from heaven, where elite bureaucrats are parachuted into jobs at government agencies or private companies, will be banned.

“When all this is done, we will have realised a new politics for all: no longer a politics of the bureaucrats, by the bureaucrats and for the bureaucrats, but of the people, by the people and for the people,” said Yukio Hatoyama, DPJ president.

Japan’s DPJ pledges radical reform –

Being a couple of gin fueled, slightly paranoid (with good reason, i tells you!) outsiders, we are still questioning whether the Japanese people will have the nuts to vote for such radical upheaval. A manifesto of this kind (along with the promised tax cuts, benefit increases, etc) is shamelessly popularist, and exactly the kind of thing that motivates the young to come out and vote… but will they embrace the chance to kick 自民党 (LDP) while they are down?

Even if only some of the reforms are actually enacted, it will probably cause massive changes in Japanese politics, just because someone will be forced to stand up and defend the systems of open corruption…

9 thoughts on “Battle Lines

    • Hard not to get one’s hopes up… it sounds like Hatoyama really does want to show the world that Japan has changed. However, my guess is that in the event that they are elected, they’re going to be very busy fighting to overcome 50 years of bureaucratic arrogance. And that’s going to be one hell of a fight.

  1. Firstly I’m amazed you even remember that conversation the state you were in young man 😉
    2ndly I stand by what I said, This Hatoyama fella seems to have the balls, but isn’t that what we thought about Blair many moons ago and Obama quite recently?? and look what a pair of arseholes they turned out to be.
    Even if the Japanese people do have the balls to vote for change nwhich honestly I seriously doubt, then will he actually be able to affect the change he is promising?? again, I’ll be the cynical one sat in the corner saying ‘I told you so’ when he turns out to be just another wolf in sheeps clothing.

    • Yep, still think you might be right… but will stick by guess that *if* DPJ gets elected, even small changes that they make will have some interesting consequences. The system has been held in a stable state for so long that any movement is likely to start it moving off in some new direction.

      I ♥ Entropy!

  2. interesting.
    A lot of japanese doesn’t expect anything of DPJ at present. We know their manifesto are shamelessly popularist. We all know DPJ is immature political party. but the politics of Japan doesn’t advance if they do not rise to power.
    The politics of Japan is miniature of the US. All Japanese want dialectical power of the two-party system. LDP’s one‐party rule finished the historical role.
    The politics of Japan enters the stage of a long dull chaos from now on.
    We vote for DPJ expecting it to become the first step of the change…

    • koga-san, thanks for your comment!

      i find it pretty difficult to read the mood of the japanese public, it’s therefore interesting to hear you say that there is a belief that two party-politics will be progress. frankly, it’s hard to imagine how japan can survive in the current state of stasis – that alone might make change inevitable.

      宇宙人 is pointing out that the change often looks pretty good before the election, but turns out to be no really change at all when it comes down to it. Our generation has seen this a lot, but the lure of power continues to turn well meaning agents of change into their parents…

      Lets meet soon – i want to hear what the people of the 郵便局 nightshift are saying 🙂

  3. yes 宇宙人’s point is right. aim high but shoot low always.
    The politics of Japan should change.Because the Japanese Sciety changed. Politics is a frame of the society, i think. and a present frame doesn’t fit the picture of Japan today. All Japanese feel it so. Even the 郵便局 nightshift also feel it 🙂

    昭和 is over. The myth of economic growth of Japan ended. The crime and the unemployment rate increase. The Japanese young person doesn’t become an engineer but becomes a punk rocker. We should construct a new frame/politics on the assumption of not growing up. It takes time for Japanese Blair to show up.

    and I think he have the right idea too 🙂

    yes let’s meet soon!

    • I know what you mean when you say 「昭和 is over」but sometimes is feels like we’ve not really moved beyond 明治, and 昭和 was just a bad detour…

      Have you read Karel Van Wolferen’s The Enigma of Japanese Power? You would probably enjoy it… but maybe not be surprised by anything you read…

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