I can see myself getting all caught up in this whole election business. There is a lot of stuff out there to read, a fair amount of cynicism, but also a lot of optimism that the DPJ is actually going to shake things up a little.
My favourite find so far is a set of quotes attributed to Katsuya Okada, which actually sound like the sort of things that you’d want to hear a Japanese politician say. A few examples, on corporate tax cuts:
“In the previous election, Keidanren (Japan’s biggest business lobby) stood at the forefront and supported the LDP, and they made a very harsh assessment of our policy. That is because of differing perspectives, and I do not think that can be helped.
“We do not particularly want Keidanren to support us. We will firmly stress our policies to the voters.”
On relations with the U.S.:
Unless Japan has its own nuclear strategy, nuclear disarmament, and nuclear non-proliferation policies and it strikes a balance with the United States, and if Japan thinks there is no mistake if it just follows what the United States says, then I think as a sovereign nation that is very pathetic.”
Similarly, on the over reliance on exports to the U.S.:
“Growth that relies on exports to the United States, in particular, clearly has its limits as the U.S. overconsumption is being corrected.”
On equal opportunities:
“In the current Japan company system, highly competent women don’t find many opportunities, so they go outside of Japan, or go to foreign firms … What we need to do is to open the doors and let in new winds.”
Yes, yes, he’s a politician, when his lips are moving he’s probably lying (or offering to blow me at some point down the road if i’ll just him my vote.. <cough>), but when was the last time you heard an LDP politician express himself in such honeyed tones?! With the LDP it’s always been about how the people must sacrifice themselves for the corporations, for the economy, for the good of the nation. But Okada sounds all grown up and progressive… crazy talk. I’m excited for them to get elected and even do ten percent of this stuff!