Thursday, September 25, 2008

BBC Fails Mightily with Its Evaluation of the Aso Cabinet

I shouldn’t BUI, but I found this while browsing after I came home late, and I couldn’t resist. I hope you’ll still love me tomorrow.
According to BBC:
A stable of well-established right-wing politicians emerged as the likely members of Mr Aso's new cabinet.
So who are these “right-wing politicians”?
Ruling party hawk and former economic minister Shoichi Nakagawa was identified as the likely new finance minister.
Hmm, nice start. Grade: A

Hirofumi Nakasone - son of one of Japan's most best-known premiers, the nationalist Yasuhiro Nakasone - was thought likely to acquire the foreign affairs ministry.
So what? Are the sins of the fathers visited upon their sons? Maybe in collectivist Great Britain, but that’s not the case in Japan. Well, legally, at least. Actually, if BBC had done its homework, it would have known that Mr. Nakasone Jr. is center-right, but not quite the nationalist/internationalist that his father is. (But then, who is?) Grade: C.

Mr Aso's erstwhile rival for the LDP leadership, fiscal conservative Kaoru Yosano, was tipped to remain in his post of economics minister despite apparent key differences with Mr Aso over the right way to revitalise the Japanese economy.
He may be a fiscal conservative, but he’s left-center when it comes to foreign policy. It’s like calling Bill Clinton a right-winger. Grade: F.

Another former rival, Shigeru Ishiba, was also thought likely to appear in a new cabinet.
Anybody who has done his homework knows that this national-security otaku is actually to the left of Mr. Yosano as far as foreign policy is concerned. Grade: F.
Is that all? Apparently, yes. BBC has earned a gentleman’s CD. So I guess my question is: Do people actually receive ex-pat pay packages for this four-letter word effort? Apparently, yes. Nice job, if you can get it.


vincent said...

And Nariaki Nakayama? According to Reuters the man 'who heads a group of ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers that denounced the 1937 Nanjing Massacre as a fabrication'. Grade A, I think.

Jun Okumura said...

I graded the BBC report, Vincent, not the Aso Cabinet. Even a broken clock gets it right twice a day, but you wouldn't pay good money for one, would you? More generally, I look at the world from two perspectives: my view of the facts, and my values. They are not always easy to distinguish, but I try. And I assume that the visitors to my blog are more interested in and benefit more from the former than the latter.

BTW, if you really want to play the numbers game, Mr. Nakayama would be more than canceled out by METI-holdover Toshihiro Nikai, the faction leader who wanted to put a statue of Jiang Zeming (yes, that Jiang Zeming) in every Japanese prefecture. I think that he's worth a Nakagawa. Mr. Nakayama is a nice match-up for Shigeru Ishiba, though.

Anonymous said...

Well, if there is to be a litmus test on right-wingers, how many members of the Aso Cabinet are members of Nihon-Kaigi? Several Japanese have used this as a standard for determining if a Cabinet is right-wing or not. BTW, I read Nakasone's blog, and his views on history, like Nihon-Kaigi, seems to be revisionist at best. In other words, reform of education in Japan is not to be found in increased funding (Japan ranks last in the OECD, right?), but ideological reform. This is very clear in Nakasone's blog...blames GHQ for taking the "spirit" out of Japanese education. So, shouldn't you rate Nakasone a right-winger who advocates ideology in education over increased funding?

Jun Okumura said...


I would very much appreciate it if you could show me where Mr. Nakasone “advocates ideology in education over increased funding” before I take the time to address the rest of your argument. But I won’t insist. Instead, let’s get his ideological credentials out of the way by conceding that Mr. Nakasone is a flaming right-wing nationalist and counterbalancing him with China/South Korea-friendly Akira Amari. And now that we’ve got that out of the way, how does anything that you tell us say anything about my point about substituting the sins of Mr. Nakasone’s father’s purported sins for honest journalism?

You do agree, don’t you, that BBC substituted insinuations and plain-vanilla falsehood for research when it wrote this report, don’t you? And you wouldn’t pay good money for a broken clock, would you—no matter that it looks pleasing to your eyes?

Thank you. Now that we are provisionally in agreement on the main thrust of my original post, let me leave everyone still reading this with the following observation: The Aso adminstration looks very much the chankonabe adminstration that I talked about here. That, in fact, has been the secret of the LDP’s 50-odd years of success. The DPJ, under the leadership of the ur-LDP Ichiro Ozawa, has been trying to copy that formula. So, let’s call this the chankonabe/baikingu ryori* election.

* Baikingu ryori is a popular form of cheap all-you-can-eat buffet meals featuring very poplura dish conceivable and then some. Plus beer and other assorted beverages. Any resemblance with “Viking” food is rare and purely coincidental.

Jan Moren said...

"Baikingu ryori is a popular form of cheap all-you-can-eat buffet meals featuring very poplura dish conceivable and then some. Plus beer and other assorted beverages. Any resemblance with “Viking” food is rare and purely coincidental."

Well, let's see... Large volume of fatty foods; a number of smaller dishes rather than one single dish; heavy on salt and spices to compensate for not-so-great quality ingredients; all washed down with plenty of beer/mead.

The name is coincidental, but it fits very well.

Jun Okumura said...

Do we have a case of parallel evolution here?