Saturday, April 10, 2010

Stand-Up Guys

The media have picked up on the oddness of hard-line conservative Takeo Hiranuma and staunch centrist Kaoru Yosano joining hands to form Stand Up Japan. But catholicity was what the LDP was all about*, and these two folks are known for their ability to get along, so there’s really nothing to get excited about. Besides, they are proclaiming themselves friends (sort of) of the LDP. But that doesn't look appropriate for the next stage in political realignment, which looks increasingly sooner rather than later.

Then there’s the other problem: These guys are old. Yosano is 71, and Hiranuma is 70. And the other are in descending order: 72 (Yoshio Nakagawa, House of Councilors), 68 (Hiroyuki Sonoda, House of Representatives), and 67 (Takao Fujii, House of Councilors). Count their days in full and they probably average out to 70, the mandatory retirement age for…the Japanese Supreme Court. Even if you happened to be one of the 2006 Post Office reform expellees whom Hiranuma helped rejoin the LDP, you wouldn’t want to join the Space Cowboys on this ride**. And they aren’t.

I do expect them to pick up a few seats in the July HoC general election though. I haven’t done the math, but I’m sure that the core supporters of the five Diet members plus whatever votes the candidates can muster on their own will be enough to get a share of the proportional seats. The Stand Ups are not going to be the media’s darlings of election 2010—that looks like the Your Party’s role—so I expect them to choose mainly Post Office reform expellees who failed to win seats in the 2006 election and local politicians, people who bring their own support base.
*To be fair, the reincarnation of the DPJ is also quite inclusive, the Hatoyama administration even more so. And going back in time, things didn’t get weirder than the Murayama Cohabitation.

**And christening the group as Stand Up Japan is the increasingly lame-duck, 77 years old Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara. Incidentally, Ishihara appears to agree with Yasuo Tanaka of Shinto Nippon (New Party Japan) in thinking that inverted names are cool, e.g. Shuto Daigaku Tokyo, (Tokyo Metropolitan University). Inversion does pack a punch in Japanese, but in this case has the feel of graying pols dying their hair. I think that Ishihara’s naming powers peaked at the subway Ōedo-sen. Now that’s a name with both historical and contemporary resonance.

Speaking of the name, do a google search in Japanese and the results begin with what appear to be mostly unkind blog posts, some of them using a pun not fit for a family-oriented blog. That is also an inauspicious sign.

3 comments:

Mark said...

So I guess Japan wants to take a less prominent role in the world. I can certainly understand that. But you still haven't answered my question on democracy. And by the way, for democracy to work, don't the citizens need to be informed? If so, then do you agree that Japan should disclose those eight remaining secret agreements? Apparently, people believe that releasing those documents will have a significant effect on the Futenma deliberations. Given that, shouldn't they be released? Obviously, I don't know what is in those documents, but I have an idea. More broadly, in order to have a truly informed public, do you support airing the dirty laundry of the past? A while back, you implied that the West was turning its back on itself. When I pressed you on the topic, you mentioned the racial composition of America as evidence of that. Having learned a little more since then, I don't think the racial composition of America is the source of your belief that the West is turning its back on itself. Personally, I am tired of all the lies and deceit. I think hiding the past - and the present - simply enable people to continue doing the same old crap over and over again. I think too much information is out there for the truth to be suppressed forever. And as China continues its rise, I think it would be helpful if it has a better understanding of what has happened. Don't you?

Lance said...

It took me about 5 seconds to get the pun - I can't believe I didn't think of it before. Now that I have though, given that the Stand Up members all elderly men, I deeply, deeply regret it.

Jun Okumura said...

Mark said...
So I guess Japan wants to take a less prominent role in the world. I can certainly understand that. But you still haven't answered my question on democracy. And by the way, for democracy to work, don't the citizens need to be informed? If so, then do you agree that Japan should disclose those eight remaining secret agreements?

Is there a direct relationship between the last two sentences? Anyway, I am unfamiliar with “those eight remaining secret agreements,” so I’ll just raise the general point that classified documents are classified documents. Even a democratic state requires national security exceptions, and the electorate presumably hopes that the government exercises it wisely. At least that’s the idea in a representative democracy, I think, so there’s no way that the need for an informed citizenry to the disclosure of all documents relevant to any given issue.

Apparently, people believe that releasing those documents will have a significant effect on the Futenma deliberations. Given that, shouldn't they be released? Obviously, I don't know what is in those documents, but I have an idea.

Same answer.

More broadly, in order to have a truly informed public, do you support airing the dirty laundry of the past?

I support time limits—with national security and trade secret exceptions and possibly others that I can’t think of at this moment—regardless of the sanitary condition of the documents or the nature of the material on which they are printed.

A while back, you implied that the West was turning its back on itself. When I pressed you on the topic, you mentioned the racial composition of America as evidence of that. Having learned a little more since then, I don't think the racial composition of America is the source of your belief that the West is turning its back on itself. Personally, I am tired of all the lies and deceit. I think hiding the past - and the present - simply enable people to continue doing the same old crap over and over again. I think too much information is out there for the truth to be suppressed forever. And as China continues its rise, I think it would be helpful if it has a better understanding of what has happened. Don't you?

Please tell me which post you are referring to. I’ve always had a weak memory, and the years have done nothing to improve it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010 9:27:00 PM GMT+09:00

Lance said...
It took me about 5 seconds to get the pun - I can't believe I didn't think of it before. Now that I have though, given that the Stand Up members all elderly men, I deeply, deeply regret it.


HAHAHA

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 10:09:00 PM GMT+09:00