politics

Media criticize Aso for mistakes during Davos speech

30 Comments

Prime Minister Taro Aso on Sunday came in for heavy media criticism over his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The premier also prepared for tough questioning in the Diet over the ailing economy and upcoming polls.

Local media criticized Aso for his performance in Davos, where he pledged 1.5 trillion yen in aid to other Asian nations.

Aso fumbled his keynote speech in Switzerland and referred to former British premier Tony Blair several times as "Tony Brown" -- an apparent mix-up with current Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

"The premier remained the same in that he lacked carefulness," the Fuji TV network said.

"Prime Minister Aso is expected to remain in a situation which does not warrant optimism in both domestic politics and foreign affairs," TV Asahi noted.

The conservative Sankei was a bit more charitable, saying in its Internet edition that Aso may simply have become mixed up due to the fact that he was only in Switzerland for seven hours.

Aso -- who took office in late September and has seen his approval rating plummet since to less than 20% -- has repeatedly rejected calls for snap polls from the opposition, which controls the upper house of the Diet.

The opposition has denounced a stimulus package which the prime minister pushed through parliament last week to revive Asia's largest economy, calling it a waste of taxpayers' money that will not save Japan from the depths of recession.

On Monday, Aso will answer questions in the upper house, where the opposition's calls for snap polls are mounting.

Aso's Liberal Democratic Party-led ruling coalition is expected to lose its majority in the lower house when Japan goes to the polls. The prime minister must call a general election by September.

The government's controversial economic stimulus package includes a plan to give the public two trillion yen in a bid to kickstart domestic spending, but the opposition says the coalition is trying to buy votes ahead of the elections.

The plan still needs to be backed by a separate bill to provide funding for the handout.

In Davos, Aso highlighted Japan's efforts to increase domestic demand with stimulus packages worth a total of 75 trillion yen, calling for other nations to adopt similar economic policies.

"I would like to close my remarks today by reiterating my strong belief that with firm will any difficulties can be overcome," Aso said.

But the influential Asahi newspaper said: "The gap between the premier's words and the plight of the Japanese economy is conspicuous."

© Wire reports

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

30 Comments
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it is better he disengages himself from international politics and just focus on domestic issues.Afterall,if he even delivered a good speech noone looks up to Japan for advice

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This Davos speech will bed one of Aso's last efforts to show the world that Japan is indeed still somewhat relevant.

Aso will be out of office soon, as Japan's govt continues to play musical chairs for the PM spot, while perpetuating the image as the long-term laughing stock of Asia's few democracies.

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The similarities between Bush and Aso continue to grow. Both are spoilt rich boys from family political dynasties. Both demonstrate little sympathy for the common man. And both seem to lack the ability to speak more than half a dozen sentences in their native languages without stumbling.

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Japnase people will not make radical demonstrations on streets to change something. They will wait for coming-soon general election for ruling party to be chosen a new prime minister. Japanese are generally pacifist who loves only peace and will not make any kinds of violences to make change of something, maybe other countries don't like it. That is the way they are. However Japanese used to make political violences in 1960s.

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mixed up due to the fact that he was only in Switzerland for seven hours.

If he was speaking off-the-cuff, I'd say this is a reasonable excuse. That he was reading from a written speech makes this unexcusable. Perhaps his speechwriter should have checked who the current leaders of the world are before handing the speech to Aso. Besides, this is the kind of thing people say of old people whose minds are going.

Where's he going to find the cash?

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Well done Aso. That speech was for those doubters who say Japan is not ready to join the big players in international politics.

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I wonder what the h**l he is thinking pledging that kind of money when the Japanese economy is in the state it is and Japan already has a higher proportion of debt to GDP than any other advanced nation.

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Aso: "Tony Brown? Really? Was he the fat one or the thin one?"

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kwatt san Thank you for your opinion, but I have to asagree, slightly. The Japanese were not always a "peace loving people" as you should know from your history textbooks, but probably dont. I think the reason the Japanese people dont take to the streets and demonstrate is that they are brainwashed into a comatosed state of mind by successive LDP governments who do all in their power to keep them that way. I remember being shocked our of my boots when talking about this subject with some university students who told me "there is nothing to protest about in Japan." Yes, in the 60s, students rebelled - but the fact that they do not do that anymore is because of the brainwashing. There is plenty to protest about in this country, if the people would only wake up. Aso is a case in point. In any other civilized democracy, where a man like him clings to power regardless of the polls which show that less than 20% of the people support him there would be riots. This man is Japan`s Prime Minister, and the speech he made at Davos, whether he was there for 7 hours or 27 hours, opened Japan to international ridicule.

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wow, from abe to fukuda to aso? Who is next, bozo?

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Abe,Fukuda,Aso...that's the three stooges out of the way.

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Japan also needs a "Savior"

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The conservative Sankei was a bit more charitable, saying in its Internet edition that Aso may simply have become mixed up due to the fact that he was only in Switzerland for seven hours.

SO.. staying in Switzerland for 8 or more hours will cure senility?

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I bet his speech writer was Japanese, and as all of us Foreigners know, the Japanese cannot speak Engrish and never will ever be able to. They are the worst foreign language learners on the planet.

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Realist - You are thinking too much. As long as I know, any Japanese have NOT been brainwashed by anything, Rather been smarter and understood the way they should be. Japanese have been peace-loving people since end of WW2 becuse Japan has not had any war or combat engagement since. Japanese peacefully better way is many critics and ordinary people are demonstrating on TV debate programs, magazines, newspapers, public auditoriums, etc about politics. They just do not go demonstrate on streets because it is not necessary. Oridnary people do not like that some stupid guys might make radical violences on streets.

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Kwatt-I doubt if u live in jp cos i dont know where you getting your information from.which TV debates are you talking about?which magz,public auditoriums are you referring to?jp people will admit that the majority dont engage in politics.check onthe last elections held and look at the percentage who went to the polls.only the "obasans and ojisans".Also,you referring to people who engage in radical demonstrations as stupid is regrettable.all around the world we have witnessed what radical demonstrations are worth.in most cases it has achieved its objectives.check on your facts nd come again

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smasarks - Mojority of Japanese people DID NOT engage in politics, but time has already been changed lately. Now majority of people are very interested in politics because big election is maybe coming soon in April becuse one of big issues is social security and pension system of very near future. Ojisan and Obasan people will have to depend on these policies, Yes, however, it is true that there are ojisans, obasans still not being interested in politics. Japanese do not mind at all that you accept radical demostration in your country but Japanese surely will not. I think this is culture difference between.

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Media should criticize Davos summit not an individual "leader" like Aso.

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kwatt...Japanese generally accept that meaningful political change will never happen...the "shyouganai" attitude is the majority here. Your comments about tv programs and magazines etc are utterly ridiculous.What programs etc are you on about ?????? People just accept the political fate meekly and we keep getting served up idiots like Aso etc and nepotistic politics that won't change.

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1.5 trillion yen?! i'd love to wring his neck!! instead of 12,500 yen; i demand 200,000 yen for each adult taxpayer and 50,000 for each of their dependents!!! that son of ....

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Potsu - It is possible that political change may not happen as you said. But Japanese will not use violences to change. Today LDP is almost dictator as ruling Japan for more than 60 years. All politicians are not bad maybe some bad. I think that Japanese will change it for people without radical demonstrations as Japan learned something from the past. Wait and see.

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Isn't it Charlie Brown he was thinking out? His mentor Snoopy says "Hey Aso, nobody voted for you so you shouldn't be speaking in Davos."

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Abe,Fukuda,Aso...that's the three stooges out of the way.

Well when Curly died they got Shemp...so we're not in the clear yet.

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kwatt-i work in a japanese office and i have been having discussions with some.Also,i usually visit Waseda and have chanced on some political science students there.It will amaze you that they see such demonstratons as the way forward for politics in this country cos they believe there is no way for them to engage in active politics with those old nagging " oyaji's" in control.we might see what is happening in Thailand surface here too.

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Japan has a long history of political violence..... the japanese people have only recently become sheeple....

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Japan helps to poor countries but not sucks them. In this article it was said that Japan will donate some money to some asian countries. yeas we are foreigners in this country , but it doesn't mean that we should lie

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I'm just curious as to what you non-Japanese think the ideal Japanese democracy. As we saw in Davos, Aso is the last and the most incompetant eligible prince in the party. We can all agree on the demise of the perpetual LDP regime after this guy, but what from there? Do we want Japanese to feel so ashamed of their role in WWII that they refuse to recognise themselves as a nation and capitulate even further to the Americans or Chinese while giving so much money away to international institutions like the UN without asking for any recognition in return?

Also we can never allow the Japanese to become competant in defending themselves. Oh no, any thought that Japan could reasonably use force to defend their shores can only evoke images of them bayonneting Chinese babies. Just think, a Tomahawk cruise missile can be tipped with a spear such that they can be launched from their Aegis Destroyer to spread mayhem and impale innocent children of Shanghai. This is a risk we cannot take.

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whoa, that's a little off topic eh NeoJamal? The only thing holding Japan back is recognizing itself to itself anymore than Germans have done and must continue to do to fight racisim and facisim. The end result is a caring prosperous culture but not a forgetful one, nor a 'sheeple'.

Japan is a beautiful place and once or even during this recession it might find strength to overcome many challenges, starting with Aso. (I know I'm overly hopeful, but I'll put it out there). When CJK can finally all figure it out that would be really cool.

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the media seem to be making fun of him while trying best to sound serious. I know that media don't exactly complain outright, but is there not an outlet for direct disapproval that you may have seen recently? Or don't people realize it's their grandma's money he's toying with?

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The real question is, is this dude just really losing it or have people (presumably senior people in politics and business) just been kinda shuffling their feet and looking away from all the gaffes these last, oh, 50 years or so?

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