politics

Defense Minister Kono apologizes for joking about typhoons

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Talk about an overreaction. A harmless joke told at the wrong time and he is bowing and scraping. Meanwhile other politicians steal and betray the public, and we are lucky to get a nod.

12 ( +25 / -13 )

In 2019 I can’t believe they have not set up the entrance exams online.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Talk about an overreaction. A harmless joke told at the wrong time and he is bowing and scraping.

Disagree. Part of being a politicians is knowing when to tell jokes and what jokes to tell.

Meanwhile other politicians steal and betray the public, and we are lucky to get a nod.

This isn't accurate unless you're talking about the ones who don't get caught.

-5 ( +12 / -17 )

It was only a joke by Minister Kono. The weak opposition parties and left media know they cannot challenge the policies of the LDP, so attack Kono for a harmless joke. Pathetic.

-10 ( +12 / -22 )

The third minister losing face, their most be something contagious in the Diet

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Education minister Koichi Hagiuda retracted a comment, which critics saw as advocating educational policies that discriminated against disadvantaged families. But these are not available to sit nationwide, and some students in rural areas may have to travel a long way to test centers or have fewer opportunities to take such tests than those in urban areas.

Also number of eikawa or cram school is not that many in rural areas, so less opportunities for these kids in rural areas to compete. Politicians in Japan think that places in Japan just big cities like Tokyo and these people make decision about Japan as a whole.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

"I was often called ame-otoko by local residents," Kono joked in his address at the event, using a term meaning a man who seems to attract rain wherever he goes. "Since I became defense minister, there have already been three typhoons."

He just did what every politician in Japan do, make inapproriate joke or comment.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

A joke which shouldn’t be such a big deal but this is a job where you are representing the best interests of people.

All that commentary shows is a disconnect from the reality most people live with every day. It’s easy to talk when you’re a minister making an inflated salary and are part of society’s elite.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

In 2019 I can’t believe they have not set up the entrance exams online.

Far too easy to cheat! If you have any idea how in depth and how long it takes to take these exams, which are often followed up by individual interviews with the students, you would understand why this is impossible for the Universities to set up. Not to mention costs.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The ame otoko joke was kinda funny - I've often been called that. But the testing problem is serious. It will only exacerbate depopulation of rural areas.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The joke by Kono was one that everybody makes. I will cut him some slack on that one. But the education minister basically saying if you are not rich and live in an urban area, then tough luck, you do not deserve the same opportunities other have, that I take exception to.

With them both being lumped together the gravity of what the education minister will be swept away with fake outrage over the typhoon joke. But it must be dealt with in a much stronger manner.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It wasn’t a funny joke. Kono studied at Keio High School and Georgetown.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Kono has learnt that it is good to start a speech with a joke. I wonder if anyone laughed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In substance, the comment by the Education Minister is far more serious, as he is basically saying that those with less money should not be on equal footing when it comes to testing. That is serious policy statement / misstatement, as opposed to a joke.

HOWEVER, what both comments share in common is this. These ministers are entirely out-of-touch with the day-to-day lives of ordinary Japanese. And, indeed, have led privileged lives, from childhood. They are, essentially, privileged elites and, therefore, are completely tone deaf when it comes to what they say.

Any normal person who grew up as an ordinary, middle class individual would know you never joke about typhoons, particularly in this context. But I am sure these are the kinds of things these blue bloods joke about when they are at their fancy settai dinners and at the watering holes in Ginza.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

What an idiot ,should be forced to visit those whose homes were destroyed and bow and cry in front of them

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@Do the hustle

In 2019 I can’t believe they have not set up the entrance exams online.

Entrance exams in Japan (and other countries) are not offered online for what should be a very obvious reason: it is essentially impossible to verify who is actually answering the exam questions.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

This is so Japanese; i.e. a huge overreaction to something which would be laughed off in other countries.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Besides the notion of "too soon" being lost on many, these toads are still voted into power and infinitum. I don't empathize anymore. You get what you "vote" for.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I have a pretty dry scene of humour, some would say frankly dark.

Having said that, I would struggle to find a one liner chuckle from typhoon comedy, it just isn't something one would laugh at.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Know the time and moment for make joke(s)

If they were no dead, it would have been ok.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I live in the countryside. My kids have gone or are going through elementary school with fifteen to twenty classmates. In the city, it can be thirty five. My town has lots of public sports halls and sports grounds that stand empty lots of the time and so are available for kids' extra-curricular stuff. Kids in the countryside have educational advantages too.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Yubaru - Far too easy to cheat! If you have any idea how in depth and how long it takes to take these exams, which are often followed up by individual interviews with the students, you would understand why this is impossible for the Universities to set up. Not to mention costs.

Oh, is that so? I guess you’ve never heard of the millions who take the TOEFL IBT (internet based test) every year. (Roll eyes)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't see where calling yourself "ame otoko" should be deemed as offensive to others. I get called that too sometimes...I mean it is true there has been an annoying amount of rain this year, and laughing or crying about it won't change that fact. Besides that I do not think he was intending to offend the typhoon victims at all. This guy seems to be a bit clumsy as shown in multiple occasions; we shouldn't be so harsh on him as he doesn't seem to intend any harm...as far as I can see...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

itsonlyrocknrollToday 08:26 am JST

I have a pretty dry scene of humour, some would say frankly dark.

Having said that, I would struggle to find a one liner chuckle from typhoon comedy, it just isn't something one would laugh at.

Agree with your sentiments 100%. Dry & Dark!

No matter what some apologists above have said - there's no way - like No Way - one of the most senior well travelled, well educated politicians in the country can make a joke about such a tragedy with so many deaths and bodies yet to be found as I type this. The shocking tv news every night should have instilled this grim reality.

Again - they just don't get it.

And the Ed Minister Hagiuda's comment is to be expected from of of the spooners that occupy the power & glory halls that masquerade as government for the people.

Corrupt to the hilt.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It's official. Japan is now as overly sensitive as North America. Better invest in tissue company stocks! Crying cupcakes will make us a fortune!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

No harm in this joke at all or context taken to refer aside on himself vs any victims of typhoons. The victims many of who passed away were caused by their own stupidity and thinking cars are boats. Over sensitive political correctness has no business in Japan, just look at the mess it has created in the US.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

No harm - no foul when it comes to political humor. Yet, as a public servant, he must be watchful pertaining property damage and human loss in the naked eye of society.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"the Self-Defense Forces' efforts (to support disaster-hit areas) and the necessity to improve their working conditions."

Oh, well that's absolutely clear!! 'I'm called the rain bringer, and there have already been three typhoons since I started! Bwa haha! Ummm... that is supposed to be praise for the SDF! Didn't you see that?'

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Rain man, not so much at least the rain man actually had a skill or two, many. This man Mr Mud slide. How did his tenure as foreign minister turn out? neighbors love Japan? He managed to explain that Japan views others as not understanding Japan's uniqueness.

MUD SLIDE.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

rgcivilian1Today 12:11 pm JST

No harm in this joke at all or context taken to refer aside on himself vs any victims of typhoons. The victims many of who passed away were caused by their own stupidity and thinking cars are boats.

How mightily empathetic you appear.

So deaths in a disaster - contributed to by panic and mistakes as you hinted - are to be somehow deserved of public jocularity, indirectly the butt of a joke by a senior govt official even before the bodies turn cold, so as to speak.

Wisdom would see that there is a time and place for everything and this wasn't the time and place.

Not wise, Not wise.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The relations with South Korea worsen when Kono served as Foreign Minister. I just recall the pictures of him and the Korean diplomat both with awkward expressions in the photos.

My J friends say he’s international and most likely the next prime minister, not Koizumi.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Humans are just a type of animal, and in a time of strife will seek someone or some group to blame and attack them in some manner. Its a type of stress relief for the pack. In a disaster don't be the one to stand out...not even as a hero....one slip...and you become a target. Politicians, perhaps subconsciously, use this to take heat off themselves.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kono apologizes so often he probably needs a chiropractor.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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