Posts Tagged politics

2011/09/03 02:57 – EDITORIAL: All Together Now

“All Together Now” seems to be the slogan of the day:

TOKYO Nikkei–Party unity is important for what it accomplishes. We hope Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s government sets clear goals and, unlike the two before it, moves in lock step against the country’s problems.

via 2011/09/03 02:57 – EDITORIAL: All Together Now.

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Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda aims to take a more focused approach than his predecessors in crafting economic policies, creating a national strategy council and bringing everyone on board. Noda’s vision is to pool the talents of politicians, bureaucrats, business executives and private-sector individuals at the council, a departure from the previous Democratic Party of Japan government’s efforts to minimize bureaucrats’ involvement in policy formulation.

via Noda Envisions More Streamlined Economic Policymaking | Read the rest of this entry »

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Eloquent orator seen as safe choice –

Jiro Yamaguchi, a political scientist at Hokkaido University, says Mr Noda is likely to try to avoid further friction and to instead pursue a conventional foreign policy stressing stability in ties with the US.“I don’t think that he’s a die-hard conservative or nationalist,” Prof Yamaguchi says. “I don’t think he will visit Yasukuni … he’s very cautious and he wants to avoid hot issues.”

via Eloquent orator seen as safe choice –

“Very cautious and wants to avoid hot issues.” That will make him stand out from the crowd, then.

There’s a phrase in Japanese “juu-rai doori” (or July dolly, as my colleague calls it). It means, according to precedent, or just carry on as usual. It’s a popular phrase in meetings, when no-one really wants to offer a novel idea, or no-one understands the issue well enough to comment. Then “July Dolly” makes everyone sound knowledgeable and cautious. Which of course they are.

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Anti-Ozawa votes put Noda over : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

From the Daily Yomiuri Online. (I like the “observers said” quote. I was an observer, too, and I said the same thing!)

The victory of Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda in a runoff election for the Democratic Party of Japan leadership Monday signified a refusal by a majority of party lawmakers to restore visible influence to former leader Ichiro Ozawa, observers said.

Noda won wide support, not only from the group led by former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara–who, like Noda, had backed the administration of Prime Minister Naoto Kan–but also the group led by Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Michihiko Kano and most of the “floaters” who belong to no particular intraparty group.

DPJ lawmakers grew concerned that Ozawa and his followers might gain a free hand over personnel appointments and policy decisions if Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda became party leader and prime minister, observers said. Kaieda got the most votes in the first round of voting, with the full support of the groups led by Ozawa and former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

But anti-Ozawa feeling was not the only reason lawmakers voted for Noda:

Some observers said support for Noda increased after Kaieda indicated he would cancel the agreement reached by the DPJ and the opposition Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito to review the DPJ’s manifesto from the 2009 House of Representatives election.

This caused a number of DPJ lawmakers to fear that if Kaieda were elected party leader and prime minister, the new administration under him would be almost certainly become bogged down under a strong backlash from the opposition parties.

Noda clearly stated that he would review the manifesto, with no element of it being “sacred.” He thus indicated he would continue, in principle, the Kan administration’s stance of prioritizing cooperation with the opposition camp, rather than adherence to the manifesto.

via Anti-Ozawa votes put Noda over : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri).


Kaieda belongs to an intraparty group led by former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and received the backing of former DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa, who leads the largest bloc in the party. Kaieda led the first round with 143 votes, while Noda won 102 in the five-man race.

Former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara won 74 votes.

However, Noda won the runoff thanks to the ballots of supporters of Maehara, as well as support from his own group and Kan’s. Noda also received votes in the runoff from lawmakers who voted for former Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Sumio Mabuchi or Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Michihiko Kano in the first round.

The Maehara and Noda camps on Sunday agreed to cooperate in case of a runoff, if either Maehara or Noda took second place in the first round.

Voting took place at a general meeting of DPJ Diet members, which began at 11 a.m. at a Tokyo hotel. A total of 398 DPJ Diet members were eligible to vote as of Monday morning: 292 members of the House of Representatives and 106 members of the House of Councillors. The party memberships of nine members, including Ozawa, have been suspended.

The actual number of votes cast was 395 in both the first and second rounds. However, three ballots were deemed invalid in the second round.

via Noda elected DPJ president : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri).

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2011/08/27 04:30 – DPJ’s ‘Escape From Ozawa,’ Part III

“He’s popular in public opinion polls” but he’s not Ozawa’s friend, so that’s the end of that.

Maehara had booked a 300-seat Diet conference room for a rally that afternoon, hoping to build an early head of steam. But only about 40 lawmakers showed up.

“He’s popular in public opinion polls, but support for hims isn’t catching on among Diet members,” said one lawmaker in his group, with an air of frustration.

via 2011/08/27 04:30 – DPJ’s ‘Escape From Ozawa,’ Part III.

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Japan PM on way out, leadership race wide open – Yahoo! News

Japan PM on way out, leadership race wide open – Yahoo! News.

Wow. So exciting. Can’t wait to learn the results. If only they choose the right guy, then all Japan’s problems will be fixed.

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Taxes, taxes and more taxes

No. 1

The government is set to provisionally raise taxes and secure around 700 billion yen in funds to pay damages to people who filed lawsuits over mass hepatitis B infections, sources close to the matter said Wednesday.The tax hike would come over a five-year period starting next April, and the government will finalize the plan within this month, said the sources.

via URGENT: Gov’t set to raise taxes to pay damages to hepatitis victims |Breitbart

No. 2

The administration is considering a ¥10.3 trillion tax hike plan over a five-year period to secure funds for reconstruction work following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, officials said.

via Five-year, ¥10 trillion tax hike is considered | Japan Times

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Yes we can… what?

The newspaper headline yesterday (Thursday, Nov. 6th, 2008) was イエス・ウィー・キャン  We can what? Americans pride themselves on being a can-do nation: not just a nation of practical people of ability, but also of an optimistic attitude that is expressed in that old chestnut: “The possible we do straight away. The impossible takes a little longer.” An admirable attitude, and one that is rooted in a strong sense and understanding of personal freedom, and the excitement that generates.

But just being able to do something (or anything) is not, in itself, suffficient. A sense of ethics, or a code of values, is also required in order to judge which of many possible courses of action should be chosen. In this area, recent events do not inspire immediate confidence. When I say “recent”, I include 1945 and the decision to drop not just one, but two atomic bombs on civilian populations.

And the other question that occurred to me as I read the headline was, “Who is ‘we’?” This is often an interesting, and fruitful, question to ask. In movies and popular fiction, the lead character is often a magnet for the viewers’ and readers’ hopes, fears, expectations and dreams. In the opening chapters (actually, more like the first third- to one-half of the book) of any Harry Potter novel, Harry himself actually does very little: he more of a foil for all the other characters. But the reader imagines himself or herself in Harry’s shoes and easily relates to his situations – of embarrassment, of anger, of alienation, of revenge, of being mistreated and misunderstood. Harry needs to do very little. The reader does most of the work.

In a similar way, when a politician says “we”, he or she does not need to define this “we”: the listeners, viewers or readers fill in the empty space by themselves.

I was reminded of an article by GoldMoney founder James Turk, Government Money or Sound Money? in which Turk takes the government to task for the proposed $700 billion bailout. Turk wrote,

Secretary Paulson even brought out an old bromide to justify this pillaging of American taxpayers: “The financial security of all Americans…depends on our ability to restore our financial institutions to a sound footing.”

Note the use of the communistic “our” in Paulson’s quote. It’s not “our financial institutions”. I don’t own any bank stock, nor do most Americans. What’s more, it’s not the “financial security of all Americans” that is at stake here.

Well spotted, Mr Turk.

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