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Abe defends playing golf during hostage crisis

30 Comments

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe responded to criticism in the Diet on Friday about his playing golf and attending concerts in late December after he had been informed that two Japanese were being held hostage by Islamic State extremists.

During question and answer sessions in the House of Representatives Budget Committee on Thursday and Friday, Abe was criticized by opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) leader Katsuya Okada and again by DPJ lawmaker Kiyomi Tsujimoto, TBS reported Saturday.

Abe replied that "Taking care of my physical and mental health is vital to my job."

However, Tsujimoto voiced her disapproval of Abe's activities. "The media covered you attending concerts and playing golf, while our nation was facing an increasingly hostile international threat and two of our own citizens were in mortal danger. Do you deny this Prime Minister?"

Abe replied that he has learned from previous leaders that being prime minister requires not only that he address matters of national and international importance, but that he also tend to his own mental and physical health, especially in times of crisis. "In order to adequately respond to the recent hostage situation, I found it important to take some time for myself so that I could then perform my duties with full capacity. In such times of stress, it is absolutely paramount that we all attempt to maintain our normal activities and establish a sense of inner calm and presence before moving forward and making major decisions."

The government learned of journalist Kenji Goto's abduction on Dec 3. However, after that, Abe was frequently away from his Tokyo headquarters, campaigning for the Dec 14 lower house election.

Abe said he was always in touch with the Cabinet Crisis Management Office and was getting daily updates on the hostage situation. "It's my job to make major decisions and before doing so, I make sure I am fully advised."

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In such times of stress, it is absolutely paramount that we all attempt to maintain our normal activities and establish a sense of inner calm and presence before moving forward and making major decisions.”

Abe said he was always in touch with the Cabinet Crisis Management Office and was getting daily updates on the hostage situation. “It’s my job to make major decisions and before doing so, I make sure I am fully advised.”

He is Right !! Opposition are trying a cheap smear... One have to understand that terrorist mean creating fear in people, scaring people, Making them live in fear and hiding... If we are to change our way of living - they have won!!!

One should never ever give in into terrorist demands.... That doesn't mean to say, that his less worried. It's simply, not bending for a low life terrorists group !!!

-9 ( +9 / -18 )

It's Abe's attitude that is the problem. He thinks he is above reproach. In Japan the image one portrays is of utmost importance, and elected officials are held to a higher standard and should show better judgement, particularly in public.

One should never ever give in into terrorist demands.... That doesn't mean to say, that his less worried.

He didnt, but his attitude in this situation was not of a leader who cares.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

Well, government leaders being caught out on recreation during crises seems to be a common theme. Bush was caught in some primary school in 9-11, continuing to read "My Pet Goat", or so that story went :-)

4 ( +8 / -4 )

You were searching for hostages in the wrong kind of bunker, Mr PM.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Yubaru

I disagree. Your hatred of Abe is well known on the discussion board and clouds your view. Abe's attitude was not a problem, nor is there anything to reproach him for. What did the opposition expect? That he sit in the crisis room all day, every day? He still has a government to run, he has to meet ministers, visiting foreign guests and so on.

It's petty on the part of the opposition. If he left the room to go to the toilet, someone would complain.

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

"Abe replied that he has learned from previous leaders that being prime minister..."

So, I guess he didn't take his cue from Mori then.

Yubaru: Agree 100%. Abe can do absolutely NO wrong in his own mind. It is indeed important to take care of one's health -- playing it up on the golf course and at concerts to the media is not really 'taking care of one's health' as much as it is using the tax payer's dime to chill out when you should be focusing on a crisis.

Kazuaki: "Well, government leaders being caught out on recreation during crises seems to be a common theme. Bush was caught in some primary school in 9-11, continuing to read "My Pet Goat", or so that story went :-)"

Terrible example. Yes, Bush was reading My Pet Goat to kids at an elementary school, but that is not a recreational activity, despite the joy it might bring (or might otherwise, given what happened that day). A better example would be the example Mori which I cited above -- he just kept on playing away when the fishing boat was sunk by the pleasure cruise of the US nuclear sub, and this was his downfall.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

Abe explanation was wonderful. Why is it that common workers cannot take time for their mental and physical health?

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Who cares about the "Shrubs" ? They're both out of office now...This is Japan. We have a PM playing golf while two of his people are being held and later beheaded. Under such circumstances, I don't think I could just go and play tennis (I hate golf...).

The Americans learned their lesson and regretted having re-elected Bush The Japanese people should learn theirs too... (Unfortunately - there isn't very much choice for a "replacement")...

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Yubaru is quite right when he says, "his attitude in this situation was not of a leader who cares." In my opinion Abe went golfing and concerts simply because he wanted to. And when he says, "In order to adequately respond to the recent hostage situation, I found it important to take some time for myself...," he sounds like he is just trying to rationalize his actions by making up some plausible excuses.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

The opposition Democratic Party of Japan would do well coming up with an alternative policy agenda than smearing/criticizing the PM's timing on improving his golf handicap.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Excellent response from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

Can you imagine the political capital the LDP and the tame press would have made of this had Kan still been in power? It'd be the most terrible disgrace, we should show respect, it is not suitable to play when japanese people are in danger, wall-to-wall, 24/7.

But because it's the Dear Leader, everything is all right, he is taking care of his health. Has somebody broken wind, or is that the stink of double standards?

10 ( +15 / -5 )

As Abe said, his mental health is vital.

Such a pity that golf doesn't appear to be curing it.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

I admire PM abe's explanation. Just being at the top is such a hard job. He does or doesn't do something, someone would still criticize him. We are forgetting they're human beings too. @Harald, thanks for mentioning PM Kan. He's a great one too. Had he not resigned....

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Abe was milking the hostage crisis to win public approval (so he can continue with his neo-nationalist agenda) and now the opposition is milking Abe's somewhat lax judgement to win points. All this milking and still no butter in the stores.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

This is what Abe means when he says he was "taking every possible measure" to secure the release of Mr Goto: playing golf and doing nothing.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

There's little political capital to be made from the atrocities of ISIL hostage taking. Government is damned by definition, either through action or inaction. A credible opposition would present a clear alternative course of diplomatic engagement that would have supported the families of the victims of this brutal act. The DJP didn't, instead resorting to extracting poliltical capital smearing.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Abe replied that “Taking care of my physical and mental health is vital to my job.”

He could've been more articulate, if I was in his shoes I would've said, "If a Japanese citizen such as myself is interrupted during his golf game, the terrorists have already won."

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

so he went to golf after returning from the middle east announcing his 200million aid? that sound like a very good way to get relax after a long trip.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Politicians ... Such great actors, the whole incident is started by Abe from donating 200mil. He just show some acts to the media to show how "worried" he is and his life is just as how he "tried" to be normal as he says. The 2 who died are just scapegoats for his military agenda.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Political cheap shots have a way of biting the hand that feeds them. As the spectacle of Naoto Kan, pitifully announcing his resignation amid universal criticism of his governments apalling handling of the aftermath of the tsunami and the unfolding crisis at the Fukushima. But to essay the incompetence would make me as morally reprehensible as the current DJP smear campaign.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

why does it matter ? The hostages would have been killed anyways. We should blame the ISIS not Abe

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Take on the LDP government for there utter failure to purge a poisonous rightwing faction of a party within a party. Rightly get under Abe San skin for failure to implement any sign of restructuring of government, agriculture, education, ecomonic reform but to trample over ISIL barbarity is just plain politically slothful.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Reaction here is always opposite to JT Facebook where more people join and comment, with less anonymity. Interesting.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

A Prime Minister (or President) should always the people first!!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Jesus... what morons...

"Abe defends playing golf during hostage crisis

This is all you can come up with, when you look for reasons to critizise Abe? Unbelievable...

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

No need for him to be on call 24/7 for a hostage crisis. The entire government should not turn on single minor events like this. If it's the only story the media reports on at the moment, then it's the media's focus not the government's. Why confuse the two?

Same goes for Obama golfing during the Foley hostage crisis, or Bush golfing whenever.

Just hope the opposition remembers that when it's their turn at bat.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

"Abe replied that “Taking care of my physical and mental health is vital to my job.”

This may come across as being insensitive, but hey, it's a crisis situation for any number of Japanese people and non-Japanese people in and out of Japan on any given day.

"Just hope the opposition remembers that when it's their turn at bat."

Let's hope Minshuto doesn't get another turn at bat for awhile, they're even worse than the LDP.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Your hatred of Abe is well known on the discussion board and clouds your view.

Hatred? No. Disgust, maybe. I do not know the man personally so all I can say is that I do not like his policies, do not like his attitude, and also think that he is a leader without leadership skills wanting to be a statesman.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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