Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Japan Restoration Party Launch


I’ve finally found time to watch the September 12 press conference following the formal launch of the Japan Restoration Party. Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, as party chief, is his usual aggressive, obsessive, recursive, self. Sound bites? More like sound wall.* Ichiro Matsui, his JRP deputy and Osaka Governor, almost always speaking after Hashimoto, half looking at him, comes across as steady, practical, down-to-earth. I’m probably not the only person who’s thinking, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. They’re inventing a national political party on the fly, on the cheap, and this counterbalance is a good thing if you’re a JRP supporter. They’ll need it, too, because they’re a little short on polish right now. Most of the crowd left the party once Hashimoto made his speech, prompting the top guest speaker Hiroshi Nakata, a former Yokohama mayor with a considerable national following of his own, to quip, ”It looks like the party is over.” Someone needs to make sure that the trains run on time, and it looks like Matsui is the one who is going to be tasked with the job.


* This trait carries over to his tweets. One September 10 series on regarding the media response to the JRP’s open-access policy discussion the day before ran to 1,904 characters. (forgot this footnote the first time around. Sept. 14)

6 comments:

Jan Moren said...

The train reference not being the least bit accidental I'm sure. I have to say I'm getting similar vibes.

Jun Okumura said...

Jan:

You saw that too, huh?

Kimiko en Tokyo said...

I have and increasing feeling (for quite some time now) that we're looking at the tree and not the forest. We fret over the "now" but who's thinking about the future? what is the Japan we want? (small-beautiful-irrelevant or strong-vibrant-powerful) Some are debating, but I feel they are the ones who will not be around in the future so they tend to stay in the present.
What is your learned opinion????

Jun Okumura said...

“I have and increasing feeling (for quite some time now) that we're looking at the tree and not the forest. We fret over the "now" but who's thinking about the future? what is the Japan we want? (small-beautiful-irrelevant or strong-vibrant-powerful) Some are debating, but I feel they are the ones who will not be around in the future so they tend to stay in the present.
What is your learned opinion????”

I do my best to keep this blog descriptive and predictive, not prescriptive and speculative. I have no illusions that I am sufficiently powerful to impose my views on the public or farsighted to predict the distant future. My subjects and commentary reflect these self-imposed limitations. However, if I were someone younger, more powerful, and self-confident—say, Toru Hashimoto—I might say something like the following:

“It is precisely with our future in mind that we launched the Japan Restoration Party. Our Eight Measures for Restoration is the outline for a society based on self-reliance and responsibility, where the government is held accountable by the voters, the public education system responds to the requirements of the students and parents, and the social safety net is designed to help people truly in need. I’m not sure what you mean by ‘small-beautiful-irrelevant’ or ‘strong-vibrant-powerful’ but I will guarantee that we will do our best to build a future where individuals have the opportunity to fully realize their potential.

Hashimoto’s vision clearly reflects a neoliberal outlook and should disappoint those who prefer a more communitarian—“Small-beautiful-irrelevant?—future. But it is remarkably free of the “Japanese values/beautiful Japan” approach so dear to traditionalists. Shinzo Abe’s sell in the LDP leadership election is that he can be the party’s link to Hashimoto’s movement as a lower house general election looms. In the unlikely event that he wins, he will disappoint the people who believed that.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.

Jun Okumura said...

You're welcome.