Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Supplementary Budget: Remind Me Not to PUI, and Odds and Ends

I write a Most Likely Budget Scenario where the DPJ rejects the supplementary budget in the Upper House, so of course the next morning, the newspapers announce that the DPJ is going to vote in favor of the supplementary budget. Ichiro Ozawa apparently saw little harm in letting the LDP have their way on a measure that Prime Minister Aso and his people had already discounted as inadequate. Some parts of the media are also reporting that the DPJ is inclined to let the legislative bill to extend the JMSDF refueling operations in the Indian Ocean pass the Lower House quickly, but generally speaking, the media are all over the place on the ultimate outcome of this and other issues, including the timing of the Lower House election. This no doubt reflects the state of play.

Mr. Ozawa has been hospitalized. Given his long-standing health issues, this might have merited an inch on the front page on a slow news day. However, the three Japanese Nobel Prize winners—physics—has wiped everything but the supplementary budget off page one of the Yomiuri. In fact, they have been given five out of the 32-page edition, and that’s not counting the one-sheet extra Yomiuri handed out last night at major train stations. Most of the non-baseball sports news also got wiped out. Totally. I also saw someone with an Asahi extra on the train. We take our Nobel Prizes seriously. What’s it like in your country? Do U.S. winners, for example, receive invitations to the White House, like major team sports champions and Olympic Gold medalists?

But going back to Mr. Ozawa’s illness, this brings up the question hovering in the back of many people’s minds: Will he serve, if elected? Will he turn out to be the Moses of Japanese politics?


Janne Morén said...

We take our Nobel Prizes seriously. What’s it like in your country?

The winners all get on the front page of the dailies as they are announced, and there's usually live television coverage of the announcements. In December we invite them all, throw them a big party and have them meet our king on live television; more of a treat in the abstract than in reality, I suspect, for both parties.

I'd say we take it seriously.

Less well known, perhaps, but every autumn, in August or early September, Karolinska Institutet - the research institute that decides the price for medicine - holds a two-day symposium with invited speakers and an audience of researchers and graduate students in Sweden. The medicine price winners for that year are almost always among the invited speakers. I guess that's one way to make sure people accept your speaking invitations...

Anonymous said...

Ozawa, Moses?
Gosh, he doesn't look Jewish?

Jun Okumura said...

You guys certainly have the market cornered as far as prizes go, Janne. I'd say it's a good thing for a nation to have; you have to live up to its reputation.

Anonymous: Moses, as in the sense of the guy who led a fractious bunch of people to the promised land but never made it there himself.