politics

Campbell chides Japan over revolving-door politics

29 Comments
By Antoni Slodkowski

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

29 Comments
Login to comment

Any government that changes as much as the Japanese do is going to have serious diplomatic problems. It's a wonder that anything ever gets done here.

Wait, sorry, nothing ever does, my bad.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

Speaking about changing leadership, I heard Tokyo currently does not have a governor.... is this true?.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"that could well bring its seventh prime minister since 2006."

Only in Japan, and I mean that literally. ONLY in Japan. The worst part of it is I bet that the Japanese government was shocked and surprised to hear this said by Campbell and are embarrassed as heck. That's what it takes, though, to get Japan to look inward on itself instead of hiding there and denying, so good on Campbell for telling it like it is.

12 ( +14 / -3 )

Speaking about changing leadership, I heard Tokyo currently does not have a governor.... is this true?.

He resigned the other day, and an election is being scheduled for sometime in the next month or two. In the meantime the vice Gov is in charge. There is an article here on JT about it somewhere.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Speaking about changing leadership, I heard Tokyo currently does not have a governor.... is this true?

Actually - Tokyo has not had a governor for the past 14 years. They have had an increasingly senile old age pensioner impersonating one.

26 ( +26 / -1 )

@ Yabaru,

I believe wowyz just being sarcastic

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Dear Campbell san, it is called PASSING THE Japanese Buck! More difficult to pin problems, blame, responsibility when all of these corrupt officials are just doing a fancy Harlem Shuffle on all of us here in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It has been and most likely will always be the bureaucrats who hold the reins anyway. It's almost as if they should abolish elected positions and just recognize who holds the power. Meeting Japanese elected officials is for most foreign politicians like meeting a Disney character - smile, take photos, but don't bother talking because it really doesn't matter who is ensconced int he costume at the moment - they'll change, and nobody will every really notice, except for those trying to get things done.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This country does not bother who the prime minister is Toyoto rules , companies rules & they don't give a damn about what these spoiled, old & outdated politician who lives inside the box full of sake & chocolates..

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

changes happen in new metamorphic changes in economy thanks to 21st century problems to accelerate economic growth phenomenon. poor ministers really do not have necessary skills but since elected they unnecessarily take over and meddle without knowledge and then corrupt the systems that create problems to people anywhere sirs!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

The revolving-door is not politics but a policy for the vassal state to fend off impossible demands from the empire. See how Fukuda Yasuo resigned in 2008. He didn't want to send the SDF to Afghanistan and pay one trillion to Washington. Having to accept something preposterous (from the viewpoint of the nation) makes the government mull it over and stand at a nonplus in the end. Hatoyama reaffirmed the relocation plan of the Futenma air base because he had to but immediately resigned knowing that the relocation plan was impossible. And now Noda has to make the economy pick up a bit as a condition for implementing the sales tax hike. The Finance Minsitry and probably the US are at his back. But he will also go out of the revolving door sooner or later and then Abe will come in to postpone the sales tax hike because he thinks it most important to end the deflation by taking economic stimulus measures rather than fiscal reconstruction based on a tax increase until the bureaucrats of the Finance Ministry begin to boycott him. And it goes on and on. So it's not politics but rather a policy of this nation in its own way and right.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Seiharinokaze Oct. 27, 2012 - 08:29PM JST

Exactly. As if the US hasn't been stirring Japan's political pot for decades. Just recently; Hatoyama (Futenma and EAC)...gone and replaced by Kan who not only reaffirmed the base relocation plan but declared that the Japan/US alliance was the basis of Japanese foreign policy in Asia. Kan (turned anti-nuke after Fukushima)...gone. Noda...the newest pro-US PM from the party that was elected to power on the promise of "change."

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Of course. The US has no problem when people it doesn't want to deal with go out the door. They just get fed up wihen the next guy doesn't toe the line enough either. You can read this diplomatic message as a code for 'If you guys don't hurry up and restart your nuke reactors like we told you to do, there will be hell to pay. Oh, and by the way, ease up on this rape case will you?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Europeans have always said that the USA "elects a king for four years."

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Seiharinokaze

That is an interesting comment, but not an excuse for the politicians failure to serve the needs of the general populous.

The Japanese political system made a step toward coming of age with the election of the DJP, but there is still a long way to go before the system is functioning as it is supposed to. There is still far too much cronyism and to eliminate the dysfunctional aspects, and amakudari has to be eliminated before that can be solved.

That said, it is probably a good thing that the current system enables the Japanese government to avoid being put into lock step with the Empire, as you say.

On the other hand, the fact that the systems is so weak that the political scene can be hijacked by people with nationalistic agendas that affect international affairs--thinking Senkakus and Ishihara--that is a serious problem.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Why does the US have to keep meddling in the affairs of other countries? I would think that there are lots of Senators in America, with deep ties to destructive industries, that we would like to see revolving-doored out of office so someone who actually represents the people and not just elites can govern. What about 8 years of GWB ? That was a lifetime.

The problem in Japan is not the rapid change of leadership, it's the fact that the bureaucrats and the politicians serve themselves and huge corporations and not the people. This seems to be the case almost everywhere these days.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Which choice is better? - A continual change as described in this article or a "Do Nothing Congress" which the USA has had because of Republican controlled House of Representatives and a Democrat controlled Senate.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan needs to take this comment very seriously. He meant well.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Seiharinokaze and Taro: "Exactly. As if the US hasn't been stirring Japan's political pot for decades."

So what you're saying is Japan does not dictate its own politics but is ruled by others? Their own politicians have to quit because of the US?

Give it a rest! The US has as much presence elsewhere as here (ex. South Korea), but you don't see other politicians running for the hills if they need to make a few tough decisions. You guys are just giving excuses to try and justify they PATHETIC excuse for J-politicians. Campbell is bang on in his assertions, and Japan should be warned that other nations will not deal with it willingly so long as the revolving door politics continues (which it will, especially if Abe wins. He'll quit within a year again).

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Not only Washington's Japan handlers like Campbell, we are all fed up with this revolving door politics in Japan. "Japan has had six prime ministers," Campbell chides, since Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's 6-year term that ended in 2006.

But can the U.S. government say it is not guilty at all for all this volatility of Japanese politics? Washington seems determined not to let any country, whether allies or antagonists, exceed the U.S. in economic and political, let alone military, power. Washington thinks that Japan, a putatively most important U.S. ally, must always be in its embrace. It cannot be an independent sovereignty. So any Japanese leader who strays from the path laid down by Washington must be done away with by all means. Enormous pressure is put on him to make him act as Washington wishes.

So how many Japanese prime ministers had to resign under this U.S. meddling in Japanese politics? Karel van Wolferen analyzes and gives an answer to one case: Yukio Hatoyama's downfall after only 8 months in office. Read his "Disabling Pacific 'alliance' run on the October 25, 2012 Internet magazine Common Dreams.

Seiharinokaze (Oct. 27, 2012 - 08:29PM JST) points out another case: Yasuo Fukuda's resignation.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@voiceofokinawa: The fundamental issue was japanese politics was too 'fragile', look at howm many parties and how amny 'factions', 'cliques' inside both LDP and DPJ? They never working together and they were infighting from every aspects from domestic and foreign policies! Even some gossip news became part of their agenda of politics to bring down someone! Some japanese laders like be has strong family background but NO political talents at all is able to run his econd term of PM, although believes his post is to be cery short lived! The jaapnese politics is in a complete chaos and dismayed if preeeding america's influences since post war! America has never respecting japan being an important ally but stabbing her back daily! Their sailors could runaway from japanese prison after sexual assaulting local ladies and this is not the first time! Why Japan so scared with US influences and her neighbouring countries?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You guys are just giving excuses to try and justify they PATHETIC excuse for J-politicians. Campbell is bang on in his assertions,

Japanese politicians are pathetic. No doubt. But that doesn't mean the US is not a heavy influence on Japan's politicians and policies. I named a few recent examples. After the war, the US did not purge the elite and political class as it should have. Why? It needed people to run the nation whom the US could control. Nothing obligates a class of people like sparing their lives and fortunes. That history is well-known. Now, the children of those corporate leaders, politicians, and bureaucrats are still in power and still loyal to the US.

Nuclear power, foreign policy, defense, and even the actions of the Bank of Japan are determined to a greater extent by Washington. During the past two decades, only Koizumi lasted more than a year or so. But he was Bush's BFF so there was no conflict between Tokyo and Washington. The same cannot be said of Hatoyama, for instance.

Perhaps part of the reason that Japanese politicians are so pathetic is because of their predilection to do Washington's bidding instead of tending to the interests of the Japanese people, interests which seem widely divergent, especially in Okinawa and as concerns the nuclear power industry.

Everyone knows the government lied about the extent of Fukushima, even the US. Yet, the interests of the nuclear industry were greater than the interests of the public. Foremost in pushing this coverup to save the nuclear industry was the Obama administration, which, among other things, just recently told Noda to back off on plans to reduce Japan's nuclear power industry for fear that it would affect the global market for nuclear plants. You will note that Jeffery Immelt sits on Obama's economic advisory board. He is also the CEO of GE which is a worldwide leader in manufacturing nuclear reactors and turbines. This is no coincidence except to the unaware or advocates of this arrangement.

Campbell knows the score. His comments are not a friendly criticism but more of a statement of expectation from Washington.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

taro67,

You've told the truth about Japanese politicians and also about Japan's nuclear, monetary, foreign and defense policies. You've told the truth about how tightly Japan is controlled by Washington in regard to all these problems.

There's an increasing number of people here in Okinawa who favor independence from Japan so that Okinawa can deal directly with Washington and demand for the substantial reduction of this excessive U.S. military footprint. But I am doubtful if that's really possible because Japan itself is not an independent nation, always acting as Washington dictates.

Campbell's chiding of Japanese volatile politics may indicate that Washington now favors the Noda administration to a possible Abe or Ishihara-instigated administration because Japan handlers in Washington find in Noda a faithful implementer of their policy.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

voiceofokinawa Oct. 29, 2012 - 06:41AM JST

Yes...after three tries, the US has the PM it wants. It was interesting that Hatoyama won power in Japan on the heels of Obama's rise in the US, even to the point of coat-tailing Obama's "Hope and Change" meme. What the US did not realize is that, unlike Obama, for Hatoyama (and, more particularly, Ozawa), campaign promises were not mere rhetoric. Hatoyama's UN speech on the East Asian Community which centered on close relations between Japan, China, and South Korea - and excluding the US - sent shock waves through Washington and they sprung to action, ousting Hatoyama and making Ozawa mostly irrelevant. Two and a half years later, Japan's relationships with China and South Korea are deteriorating and it finds itself calling on the US for help. It could not have worked out better for the Americans who find opportunity in all unrest whether it was created by them or merely serendipitous. "Never let a crisis go to waste."

I know your writings. I know your dedication to resolve the issues on Okinawa. I know you are sincere and honest in your research and fair in your analysis. To have you confirm my observations honors me.

What does it take to pull the veil from people's eyes?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The revolving-door is not politics but a policy for the vassal state to fend off impossible demands from the empire.

Yes, likewise, Japan's foreign policies are schizophrenic in nature because of the opposing forces of its need to develop deeper economic relations with its neighbors, including China (for manufacturing) and Russia (for energy and commodities) and the need of the empire to use Japan as a foothold from the Pacific.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan also needs the vast Chinese market for its exports, and to be replaced by Germany and S Korea will be devastating for Japanese companies and Japan's economy. Yet Japanese politicians constantly engage in hostile brinksmanship over WW2 era disputes with its neighbors, China, S Korea & Russia. Coincidence?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

for Hatoyama (and, more particularly, Ozawa), campaign promises were not mere rhetoric. Hatoyama's UN speech on the East Asian Community which centered on close relations between Japan, China, and South Korea - and excluding the US - sent shock waves through Washington and they sprung to action, ousting Hatoyama and making Ozawa mostly irrelevant. Two and a half years later, Japan's relationships with China and South Korea are deteriorating and it finds itself calling on the US for help. It could not have worked out better for the Americans who find opportunity in all unrest whether it was created by them or merely serendipitous. "Never let a crisis go to waste."

Yes, and it should be emphasized that the US appears to have indicated that the Senkakus falls under the mutual defense agreement, while refusing to "take sides" on the issue of sovereignty.

That would certainly seem to be serving to drive a wedge between Japan and China, bolstering the position of nationalists. Is it perhaps an ominous sign of divide-and-conquer geopolitical machinations on the part of the US government.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Gotta love all the conspiracy nuts in here. Tell me this: How is it that the US has such control over Japan, as you all claim, yet when the clearly less powerful Philippines was able to kick us out?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How is it that the US has such control over Japan, as you all claim, yet when the clearly less powerful Philippines was able to kick us out?

It was probably because you didn't see a need to stay in the Philippines at the time when Marcos was toppled during the Cold War era when Russia was the antagonist. However, with China's rise, the "return" to the Philippines is of course essential to the "pivot".

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites