Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Japan's PM Kan Survives Vote of No Confidence and Stays On

Thanks to the last-minute maneuver by the ex-Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama (aka "space alien") who says he has persuaded Kan to step down once the recovery and reconstruction from the March 11 earthquake is well on its way.

Bummer. The vote of no confidence was set to pass, until Hatoyama decided he wanted to be a king-maker. Ichiro Ozawa, who an increasing number of Japanese feel should be the PM to deal with the current crisis, was betrayed by Hatoyama, who had promised Ozawa that his faction would vote for no confidence.

I don't know why anyone still listens to Hatoyama, who was one of the most ineffectual PMs that Japan had, in my opinion, until Kan came along. Good pedigree and tons of money count, I suppose.

Many people in Japan have said it is no time to fool around with politics when the country is in crisis. So? This particular government hasn't done much anyway, other than giving press conferences. People are still living in shelters, without enough running water or food. The government doesn't do anything about Fukushima I Nuke Plant; TEPCO does. Besides, this was the country that went on to hold nationwide local elections soon after the quake/tsunami and Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident when people were still very much shaken and not in the right frame of mind.

Getting rid of this Prime Minister and his cronies in his office and in the administration would have been a fresh start.


areyoume said...

agreement between the two doesn't say anything about quitting. another charade. sigh. (in Japanese)

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, getting rid of this crony means we get a brand new crony, and not much of a fresh start. Tis the way of all politics, and unfortunately it is even truer of Japanese politics.

Anonymous said...

In any other country, Ozawa would be dead politically (and probably in jail) since a long time ago...

Kan is not perfect but does its job quite ok. This is no time for such kiddy power-battle...

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@anon at 2:38AM, a certain set of cronies is more competent than others, and the Japanese know that. The current bunch is amateur hour.

@anon at 5:58, I doubt it. Is Rangel in jail? Hatoyama got away with his big financial scandal because he is a son of the former prominent prime minister and a grandson of another. Kan will get away with condemning many, many people in Japan and the world to radiation-related illness for decades. But where did you get this idea that Kan does the job quite OK?

Anonymous said...

Robbie001 sez:

I have to agree with Anon 2:38 People in the US thought Obama was going to bring significant "change" he must have meant he had a big jug of pennies because I don't see much difference. The old rock band the Who had it right in the song "Won't Get Fooled Again"

"Meet the new boss,
Same as the old boss".

This is true because most of the people we "elect" don't represent the general population because we don't have a single voice on most issues. They serve the rich and powerful because they do have a single voice and purpose and more importantly they have lots of money. The common man gets whatever trickles down we get to "win" minor victories that are later quietly erased. Through political manipulations corporations are slowly becoming the only voice heard in every argument. The lack of outside media coverage is a glaring condemnation of the corporate seizure of mass media. The lack and marginalization of nuclear critics throughout the crisis is a condemnation of the nuclear industry's control over the media.

Imagine how ill-informed or misinformed the world would be if the Internet didn't exist. If it wasn't for a handful of concerned bloggers (H/T Areva) offering translations Fukushima would be nearly as secret as Chernobyl was.

Younger readers may not remember that the true extent of Chernobyl wasn't known until years after the fall of the Soviet Union and even then the information was heavily redacted and controlled. In addition Chernobyl isn't "buried in concrete" like I keep hearing. The exploded reactor building is still housed in a crumbling sarcophagus open to the environment just like it was at the fall of the USSR. None of the melted corium has been cleaned up they just tossed it in the smoking hole and covered it with a leaky box. Their water table zeolite filter remediation around the plant is just a stop gap measure that needs constant monitoring and maintenance to ensure its efficiency.

The Internet will be the next corporate seizure eventually they'll find a way to even further marginalize the independent media margins.

Anonymous said...

Agreed the DPJ has handled things terribly, but the LDP is in no way a better alternative. Do you honestly think the LDP would have handled things any better? Remember they created Japan's nuclear "policy", plus TEPCO, plus pretty well everything else that is wrong with Japan today. I'm sure the LDP would be force feeding radioactive cesium to schoolkids just to prove it is safe.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@anon at 3:25PM, it's not so much about whether LDP is a better alternative or not. I detest both parties. but I think there's an acute sense among an increasing number of Japanese people that they are being killed right now by the Kan and DPJ government through their non-action (on nuke plant front, recovery from earthquake/tsunami) and action (setting radiation level high, for one).

Now this killer admin vows to stay in power for much longer than it promised Hatoyama.

"I'm sure the LDP would be force feeding radioactive cesium to schoolkids just to prove it is safe." - well, the Japanese didn't get the chance to find out.

Anonymous said...

"but I think there's an acute sense among an increasing number of Japanese people that they are being killed right now by the Kan and DPJ government through their non-action"

As distinct from being killed by the actions of the LDP - creating TEPCO, building Hamaoka,

My main complaint with Kan/DPJ is that they didn't nationalise TEPCO and send in the military to run things. Obviously the LDP would never do that, but it wouldn't be out of character for a centrist/leftist party to do it. It is clear the DPJ is just a slightly less corrupt and sadly more incompetent version of the LDP.

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