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Suga defends Abe's 'Gordon Gekko speech' on Wall Street


Japan's top government spokesman on Thursday defended a speech by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in which he compared the career of fictional Wall Street titan-turned-criminal Gordon Gekko with his own country's economic resurgence.

Abe's address to the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday -- which touched on everything from hot dogs and sushi to baseball and U.S. heavy metal rock band Metallica -- repeatedly mentioned the anti-hero of the 1987 film "Wall Street."

"Today, I have come to tell you that Japan will once again be a country where there is money to be made, and that just as Gordon Gekko made a comeback in the financial world... so too can we now say that 'Japan is back,'" Abe said.

The Oliver Stone-directed film portrays Gekko as a corporate raider who is ultimately sent to prison on insider trading charges and other securities violations. His memorable line that "greed is good" became a popular symbol of 1980s excess.

Actor Michael Douglas, whose performance netted him an Academy Award, reprised the role in the 2010 sequel "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" which chronicles Gekko's notoriety after his release from prison and his subsequent move to seek redemption.

"What the prime minister wanted to say the most was that 'Japan is back.' And in the sequel, Gordon Gekko was redeemed, wasn't he?" Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

Suga was responding to questions about why Japan's leader had cited a cinematic convicted criminal as an inspiration for a policy blitz aimed at reviving the country's long-limp economy.

Abe noted that the original film a quarter-century ago portrayed Japan as an economic powerhouse, while in the sequel "the investors that appear are Chinese -- Japan is conspicuous only in its absence", reflecting its two-decade slide.

Abe's wide-ranging speech, on the eve of his appearance at the UN General Assembly, was strewn with metaphors, from the musical to the culinary.

In one section he pointed to hopes that sushi carts would one day be lined up alongside New York City's famous hot dog vendors -- apparently confirming Japan's revival.

In a slightly strained sporting simile, Abe compared the "sharp breaking cutter" of Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera, with the inevitability of Japan's economic revival.

"Even now, at age 43, Rivera has that one pitch -- that sharp-breaking cutter -- that every batter finds entirely unhittable," he said. "I am convinced he is the best closer anywhere in the world.

"There is likewise no need to go to extraordinary lengths to find a scenario in which Japan reemerges. I believe that, just like one of Rivera's cutters, Japan will be able to revive as long as it unleashes its intrinsic potential."

New York Yankees star Ichiro Suzuki and Japan's super-efficient bullet trains also got a mention, as part of a pitch for Japanese involvement in a proposed maglev link between Baltimore and Washington DC.

After swinging through lithium-ion batteries, wind turbines, deregulation, trade pacts and an upcoming meeting with the editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, he returned to Michael Douglas's big-spending trader.

"To paraphrase Gordon Gekko, "How are we going to revive the global economy? Well, I'll tell you. Three words: 'Buy my Abenomics!'"

The quote was an apparent reference to a scene in the second film in which Gekko is trying to convince an audience to buy his book.

The Japanese prime minister, who is not known to have previously expressed a liking for hard rock, finished his speech touching on the title track from a 1991 album by U.S. heavy metal group Metallica.

"Japan is once again in the midst of great elation as we prepare for the (Olympic) Games seven years from now," he said.

"It is almost as if Metallica's "Enter Sandman" is resounding throughout Yankee Stadium: you know how this is going to end."

© (C) 2013 AFP

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Living in the past.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Ohhh brother! Do you ever wonder on just how you are going to answer straight forward questions about Japan when you visit your home country?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

another great attempt at humour gone wrong...

3 ( +8 / -5 )

"“What the prime minister wanted to say the most was..."

You ever hear the expression "say what you mean"? How many times from this cabinet have we heard "what was meant was... what he was saying was...", etc., be it Aso praising the Nazis or others yelling at the UN audience to "SHUT UP! SHUT UP!".

Personally I think it's classic Abe made the comparison between Japan's rise in economic power to that of a person who did so criminally.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Yankees out of the play offs and Ichiro has won nothing of note yet.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Maybe his comparison of Japan to Gordon Gecko would mean more if people had actually seen the sequel.

(I could see equating the last 20 years of doldrums and deflation as a prison sentence, ....)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Shinzo Abe’s address to the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday—which touched on everything from hot dogs and sushi to baseball and U.S. heavy metal rock band Metallica

I'm betting it's this line, because it's perfect for him:

"Dreams of war, dreams of liars, Dreams of dragon's fire, And of things that will bite"

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I found Wall Street II pretty boring compared to the original. Hopefully Abenomics is a better sequel.

GG in Wall Street: "America has become a second-rate power. Its trade deficit and its fiscal deficit are at nightmare proportions"

That quote has aged pretty well.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Probie. Is that from Metallica's "Enter Sandman"?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Two people that one really should never reference in speeches: Gordon Gekko and Hitler.

Perhaps he was trying to make a broader point about G.G.'s widely misinterpreted (by even St. Stone himself) "greed is good" speech and the validity of the profit motive in economic growth. If so, fair enough, but he probably shouldn't use a character who lied cheated and stole to get ahead.

And the sequel was ponderous, moralistic and convoluted. In other words, a post-platoon Oliver Stone production.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"Off to never-never land"

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Ha ha ha. Abe what a clown and idiot! Aso admires Hitler and Abe admires Gekko Just how pathetic can the leaders of japan be?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Hush little baby don't say a word And never mind that noise you heard It's just the beast under your bed

the noise being Abe's speeches, of course. I think this guy needs a better speech writer, or to hire one.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

How much is the bill for the Fukushima clean up so far?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

In the film Wall Street, Gordon Gekko says ""Its a bankrupt business model. Its malignant, like cancer. Its a disease. Now we have to fight back. I'll tell you how to fight back in three words: Buy. My. Book." Prime Minister Abe said BUY MY ABENOMICS in his address to the New York Stock Exchange. LOL.

4 ( +6 / -2 )


Yes. Everyone should know their Metallica.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Funny. I am still laughing hard.

Abe was using a wrong example in his speech. I bet everyone was thinking, "thank you for warning us not to invest in Japan. You are telling us Japan cannot tell a difference between what is wright or wrong in business ethics."

0 ( +6 / -6 )

As he's revisiting the 80s, I wonder what else Abe can warm-up. Maybe he can refer to 'Working Girl' as an example to the housewives to get them back into work and dare to dream.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

As he's revisiting the 80s? Good one. I am thinking to send him a CD "Let's Get Physical" a song in 80.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

It was a Freudian slip...

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Isn't he hilarious? This stand-up comedian never fails to surprise.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's strange that Abe seems to be the only that believes himself. Even the Japanese banks and economists are in doubt over his economic policies. Once all his tax hikes kick in and the corporations refuse to pass on their tax breaks into salary increases the wheels are gonna fall off very quickly and Japan will be worse off than when this wombat started his reforms. The average family is gonna be at least 10-15% worse off, possibly more. Enticing countries like the US to invest in Japan will prove futile cos there will be no money in the pockets of consumers.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

It's strange that Abe seems to be the only that believes himself. Even the Japanese banks and economists are in doubt over his economic policies.

You've got it. Abenomics is a one way street to destruction without serious for internal reforms. By the time, everyone realize how bad it is, it will be too late. Eventually Japan will implode within. I think Abe has many bad strategy advisors and he is not too smart.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

GG is A fictional character from 25 years ago: some one is dreaming and living in the past, exept for the sushi carts, they ARE owned and operated by Chineese.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What a twat!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Gordon Gekko: "I create nothing, I own."


-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Maybe he thought Hollywood is in NY? He is in a wrong State to apply for a comedian job after someone will replace him very soon. I thought Inose and Aso are top big mouth politicians in Japan but Abe replaced them. Lucky US media usually ignore anything about Japan including Fukushima. No mention of his stupid comments in USA news in my area which have so many channels free.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

how ... seriously ... such a shame...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Fire the speechwriter.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@probie: Japan Inc - some kind of monster?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Someone should tell him that quoting a fictional character and a villain at that is not good for once image. Considering the character basically used people and went around rules, is Abe saying the Abenomics will used any and every underhanded trick to put Japan on top no matter who gets hurt?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Wall Street and II are sold in CD. DVD and Blue Ray in USA but it is kind of hard for people who are not familiar with Wall Street Lingos or not educated in Economics. Are there Japanese language subtitled version sold in JAPAN? Maybe someone said summaryoif this movie to Abe? Gekko character on I I was not kind to his daughter until he met his grandson. He caused one person suicided.

I agree JeffLee: Fire speechwriter.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

He should have dung something about his prime ministry: "The Thing That Should Not Be".

How up his own @$$ he sounded when he said "Bai... mai... abenomics". Why didn't he just refer to himself in the third person and go the full "egotistical idiot" route?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Gordon Gekko was a movie villain, wasn't he? Abe's admiring villains now?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Abe already failed as PM once - how long until he fails again?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@strangerland: He has been too busy going everywhere and speaking too m,uch. His wife must be worrying when he will have another tammy proble3m. Last tme she was main pusher to have Abe quit politics. to worry his health more than he worry non-Japanese issues everywhere to meddle other countries' problems. He should worry his brain function this time. Replace all current speech writers with brainy and knowledgeable political-economic speech writers. so that Suga can concentrate on his job. i

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Probie. Thanks, I will bone up on my metal!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Huh?!...Gordon Gekko went to prison for inside trading, he was a gangster. I hope Abe was just lost in translation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Give the man a break. At least he's out there and giving it a go. Head and shoulders above almost all of the last 10 or so PMs, including his former self. I trust that most of you would like to see Japan do well, no?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Abe can't help making gaffes wherever he goes. The greatest comedian of present times he makes sure he is seen and heard everywhere. You can bluff some people some of the time but not all the people all of the time. Apparently he is a slow learner to match the speed at which he continues to spout untruths.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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