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Osaka mayor, Yomiuri boss trade dictator insults

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Who’s more of a Nazi, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto or Tsuneo Watanabe, chairman of The Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings?

“He reminds me of Hitler,” Watanabe wrote of Hashimoto in the April issue of the monthly Bungei Shunju. Hashimoto, reports the information website Zakzak (March 19), lost no time in tweeting a rejoinder: “It seems to me Mr Watanabe is the one who’s the real dictator.”

Is this serious? The crudity of their repartee makes it hard to think so, but these are powerful (and therefore, one hopes, serious) people. Hashimoto, 42, is a rising political star and Watanabe, 85, owns Japan’s – and the world’s – largest newspaper, which in turn owns the Yomiuri Giants baseball team. Last fall, Watanabe’s role in the firing of Giants general manager Hidetoshi Kiyotake was regarded by many as unwarranted interference, and in the controversy that followed, Watanabe reportedly said, “I am the last dictator.”

Hashimoto has also been accused of having a dictatorial streak. A comment he made last summer suggests that the notion is not altogether anathema to him. Musing on Japan’s political paralysis, he was reported as saying, “What Japanese politics needs today above all is dictatorship – at least the power of a dictatorship.” More recently, in a February interview with the Asahi Shimbun, he said, “In an election, the people indicate the broad direction they want [the government to follow], and give [elected politicians] a kind of carte blanche” regarding how to get there.

That, says Zakzak, is what set Watanabe off. “This reminds me of Hitler,” Watanabe said. Hitler no sooner became chancellor (in January 1933) than he passed the Enabling Act that permanently dissolved parliament. "That,” said Watanabe, “is how fascism started” in Germany. Hashimoto’s comment, he said, “is a very ominous sign.”

Nonsense, ripostes Hashimoto. There is no comparison, he argues, between today’s Japan and Germany of the 1930s. Today, Zakzak quotes him as saying, “power derives from fair elections. No dictatorship can arise from fair elections.” Or, he goes on to say, from a system in which governing term limits are firmly entrenched and government unfolds under relentless media scrutiny. “I myself,” said Hashimoto, “make a point of being available to media coverage as often as I can, and making all information public.”

His parting shot: “In contrast, isn’t it Mr Watanabe who struts like a dictator, not only at the Yomiuri Shimbun but in politics, finance, and baseball?”

What, Zakzak wonders, will Watanabe say to that?

© Japan Today

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20 Comments
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Hashimoto is man with a distinct vision, a reformist not a dictator. Watanabe is not demoractic like any other business leaders in Japan.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

They both deserve to continue ripping each other.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Fascism in Germany? How about fascism in Japan? Short memory.

10 ( +9 / -0 )

Hashimoto is right on track. What Japanese politics lack is strong people with a clear vision, who can take leadership. That means authority, but also responsibility. Same with companies.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Seems both have made comments that make them in favour of dictatorship, but Hashimoto was spot on with the finishing comment in this article. The only problem is that Hashimoto speaks of 'fair' elections, when with fame, money, and power they can be made UNfair quite easily.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Keeping it classy Hashimoto... This guy just keeps making enemies which gives me hope he'll be a one term mayor and will then crawl back into his hole.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I think Hashimoto slipped up to use the word 'dictatorship' and he knows it. Leadership is a better word. It takes courage and leadership to challenge the embedded political and social old boys club. It takes leadership to unify political boundaries within Osaka to cut costs, to challenge 'dictatorial' style monopoly companies like KEPCO to abandon nuclear energy in favour of renewable energy sources and to begin opening the energy sector to greater competition. Yes Hashimoto is making enemies, but is there any other political leader in Japan who you can suggest who is being proactive, innovative and challenging the mind set of the very political system for the benefit of the electorate?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Hashimoto is a right-wing facist, but at least he's not blaming everything on foreign sedition like some major Japanese metropolitan mayors. Probably ends like Bo Xilai.

Watanabe is an old relic publishing a subjective propaganda magazine filled with opinion editorials instead of objective information.

I elect a third option.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Just because no one else is good doesn't mean Hashimoto is good. People keep making this mistake. He might be the better option than most but that doesn't make him a good option!!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Hashimoto`s way of doing things is completely harsh and unconventional, the things he sometimes says ("what Japan needs now is a dictatorial regime", etc) would be completely intolerable in Europe and other democratic countries, he is trying to make Osaka look as his own vision not caring about anything else...but at least he is doing something while most of the politicians here do nothing.

Let`s be honest, politics sometimes needs a man like this that does not only heat up controversy, but also makes other people, from both right and left wing parties, think about how things have been done till now, how some of them have been wrong and that how others should be preserved, etc.

Hashimoto being wrong or right is something that only time will tell, and while I cannot approve a lot of things that he is doing (and HOW is he doing them), I think that is making a lot of people here in Japan about politics more than what they were used to, specially young people.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

watanabe like was said above is an old relic, but he gets to publish ahell of a lot of propaganda, hell thats why I read the daily yomiuri to keep up on how the pwers that be scam & shape the nation! watanabe is certainly NOT the answer to ANYTHING!

But this twit hashimoto is looking pretty bad too, I mean anyone who wants to team up with blinky is DANGEROUS! Clearly, and after he ramed the kimigayo down the throats of Osaka, yeah he looks like he wud like to be a dictator, watch out Osaka!

I have often said that many dictators wud LOVE to have what Japan offers, a populace that WANTS to be told what to do, govt & beaurocracy that think incest is best, control of the media(print & tv etc), a corrupt police & court system, HELL WHAT MORE DOES A DICTATOR WANT???? Not much

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Hashimoto = this century's Fumimaro Konoe!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

FYI, Konoe formed theTaisei Yokusankai, a para-fascist political organisation that ruled Japan through WWII!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Syn he gets people talking that's for sure. While I don't disagree with everything he's done, he certainly doesn't seem to care about the publics wants and needs. The blinders have come off for a lot of people. I hope this actually makes them give a damn and demand more from their government. As ut is, they don't expect much and get very little in return.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“What Japanese politics needs today above all is dictatorship – at least the power of a dictatorship.”

Such a charmer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hashimoto exists to satisfy his insatiable ego.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

id live to hear Hashimotos comments about gender issues, and how the public responds to him saying them

0 ( +0 / -0 )

some14someMar. 23, 2012 - 06:34AM JST Hashimoto is man with a distinct vision, a reformist not a dictator. Watanabe is not demoractic like any other business leaders in Japan.

First of all, business is private and by it's very nature dictatorial. The so-called consensus-building supposedly at the root of all Japanese businesses is nonsense and everyone knows that. Nemawashi is mere theater.

It is well-known, however, that Hashimoto, if not really resembling Hitler, shares far too many personality traits with the mayor of Tokyo coupled with an anti-government stripe not dissimilar to what is found amongst Tory politicians in the U.K. and the hard right in the U.S.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Business is not dictatorial of others, that's why its democratic. The nature is that if you dont like it youre free to leave change and so on. And Wanda-the Tory's of the UK??? you mean like the ones who told Hitler they didnt want to be agreeable with him, and lighted the path to war? Hashimoto is good, but he is too patriotic, and therefore blinded. And that is exactly why I point out about finding his opinion on gender being very important, albiet very inflamatory too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ok let me get these clear guys. nazi's were germans.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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