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Another one bites the dust
June 1, 2010 8:40 PM   Subscribe

Yukio Hatoyama, Prime Minister of Japan, will resign. Also stepping down is Ichiro Ozawa. After a series of misscues, calls for Hatoyama's resignation started popping up. Among the issues dogging Hatoyama were questions about a sizeable amount of money he received from his mother (possibly disguised as campaign contributions to keep him from looking like a weak candidate who couldn't raise funds), reneging on a promise to move the US Marine bases out of Okinawa, and this shirt.

Ozawa, meanwhile, has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, having been repeatedly questioned about campaign contributions.

With both the PM and the man whom many say was the real power in the DPJ stepping down, elections on the way, this might spell the end of non-Liberal Democratic Party rule in Japan.
posted by Ghidorah (55 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Also notable is the sidebar on the New York Times story, showing how he last four PMs of Japan have lasted for less than a year each. In Japan, the word leadership remains inextricably linked to 'dearth of.'
posted by Ghidorah at 8:41 PM on June 1, 2010


Have to admit, that is one butt-ugly shirt.
posted by blucevalo at 8:41 PM on June 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


he could always move to greenpoint with threads like that.
posted by One Thousand and One at 8:49 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I kind of like that shirt.

OK, mostly I like the idea of someone wearing that shirt on purpose.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:51 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Don't worry, you too can wear that shirt on purpose.
posted by Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld at 9:03 PM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow, I never thought Geocities could be turned into a shirt.
posted by Skygazer at 9:18 PM on June 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


This shirt comes from the '80s or '90s. His ideas and philosophy are old. Japan is facing a crisis and we can't overcome it with a prime minister like this.

Oh come on -- you can't know the man from his shirt.
I'd need to also know his blood type in order to understand the man through and through.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:19 PM on June 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


One thing that must be noted, Japanese politics, historically, have been fairly volatile. Less by design, and more in aim.

Now, this is only my opinion, but I believe it is the reflection of a culture that still hasn't grown out of the superstitious nature of it's country's religious beginnings. With the elimination of it's monarchy a short time ago, the attribution of spiritual influence on it's leader(s) has not lessened. That takes more than 2 or 3 generations.

With the monarchy, the divine manifested through it's emperor, so good or bad, everything happened by cosmic design. Now, the divine manifests itself through the successes of political leaders who are riding the wave. When shit goes wrong, they look to the next in line with the most apparent good fortune.

Along with this, when things are going bad, you won't have anything like we do in the states, where a president will go lame duck and surf through the last months of his presidency pretending he cares little about his 31.7% approval.

No, it is more respectable to fall on the sword, so to speak, and save face.

tl;dr - I'm talking out my ass using old social studies notes from 9th grade because I couldn't think of anything to say other than "lol. Cosby wouldn't even wear that shirt."
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 9:20 PM on June 1, 2010


"A fashion designer like me can wear this, but not the leader of Japan."

I totally hear this in the voice Jeff Manning, the English voice actor for Iron Chef kitchen reporter Shinichiro Ota, uses to relay quotes from the challenger on the floor of Kitchen Stadium.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:24 PM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah, i'm going to blame the shirt too.

You know that thing that fashionable young Japanese people do where they take some weird ass clothes that shouldn't work and somehow manage to totally rock it? He is completely failing to do that.
posted by Artw at 9:27 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


With both the PM and the man whom many say was the real power in the DPJ stepping down, elections on the way, this might spell the end of non-Liberal Democratic Party rule in Japan.

Maybe, but I very much doubt any significant number of DPJ representatives would support a no-confidence motion brought up in the lower house, which means that there would be no dissolution of the Diet to force a new election. In other words, unless the low polling for Hatoyama continues for a new DPJ PM, or the DPJ splits, the DPJ will stay in power for the whole four-year term. Yes, the Social Democrats left the ruling coalition, but they were very much the rump of the group, and had been becoming more and more of a liability for the DPJ. (So are the People's New Party, for that matter, but I digress...)

That being said, in the upper house, for which there are elections scheduled to be held as soon as July 11, the DPJ don't hold a majority on their own, and the withdrawal of the SDP has made any controversial vote there an uncertain one at best. Since the DPJ needs a 2/3 majority in the lower house to override any veto of legislation by the upper house, a poor showing in the upcoming election means they'll have to stop trying to ram through controversial bills after only minimal discussion.

Although Ozawa will step down as DPJ head, I believe he will remain very much in the loop on formulating strategy for the upper house elections in an unofficial capacity. Whether that will make any difference one way or the other, though, who knows?
posted by armage at 9:47 PM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, and as always, insightful commentary is also available from Shisaku and Observing Japan.
posted by armage at 9:50 PM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Man, I wish our politicians would resign when they broke campaign promises
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:55 PM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ozawa is interesting, in that he refuses to follow the mold. Get disgraced? Resign. Political aide does something bad? Resign because of your failure to only have saints working for you. Even if Ozawa had absolute, concrete proof that he did nothing wrong, public opinion is so against him that he's killing any support the party has. When your own image is detrimental to the party, it's probably time to sit down. Still, it's essentially his creation, and there's unlikely any way he'll ever really let go, short of a stake through the heart, exposure to direct sunlight, and heavy doses of garlic and silver.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:12 PM on June 1, 2010


In the BBC news footage there's a clip of Hatoyama in some sort of confab with Hillary Clinton and he's wearing an orange, silver, gray, and black striped tie that looks like it was off the rack of a Men's Wearhouse circa 1981. His obsequious aide is wearing a more styling tie than he is.

OK, I know I'm being superficial, but ..... no other G8 politician would allow an aide to wear a snazzier tie than he's wearing.
posted by blucevalo at 10:24 PM on June 1, 2010


short of a stake through the heart, exposure to direct sunlight, and heavy doses of garlic and silver.

Well, there's a reason he's called The Destroyer.
posted by armage at 10:25 PM on June 1, 2010


I'd need to also know his blood type in order to understand the man through and through.

That kind of information is on his official government profile, of course!

According to this completely baseless site, people with O-type blood are confident, hate losing, look after their subordinates (like a "big brother"), and are passionate about their jobs.

They are also, apparently, open and unemotional about sex, caring less about their sexual partners than they do themselves. Take that as you will.
posted by armage at 10:36 PM on June 1, 2010


DPJ was "new" blood that broke the dominance of the LDP, but Hatoyama himself was just yet another weak, ineffectual prime minister like the previous three: Abe, Fukuda, and Aso. Japan hasn't had a real leader since Junichiro Koizumi quit back in 2004.

Hatoyama's true screw up was promising to fix the Futenma base issue. It's an American military base in Okinawa and is extremely unpopular with the local Japanese. Hatoyama tried to move the base to a smaller island--still in Okinawa prefecture--and the island's population gave Hatoyama a polite "fuck that". So he was in an impossible position, but he was foolish enough to promise to fix it.

Ozawa seems to be a caricature of a venal, greedy politican, with payoff scandals and stories of paper bags full of cash found in his house--all sketchy stuff. In short, the guy is probably no more crooked than a lot of Japanese Diet members, but the LDP, after having been beaten, is looking for any wedge to return to power (sound like any American political party you know?)

The real shame is this may mean the DPJ is on its way out, and the recent trouncing of the LDP was just another short-lived fluke. A shame because, to me anyway, the DPJ has some really progressive ideas, such as assistance for families with children, improved daycare in Japan, and perhaps most of all, an uncharacteristically blunt attack on useless government agencies and the billions and billions of yen they leech off government funds, usually to pad the salary of do-nothing managers and supervisors. The DPJ could at least put a dent into these things; with the LDP in power, it'll likely go back to business as usual.
posted by zardoz at 10:42 PM on June 1, 2010


This shirt comes from the '80s or '90s.

Just what in the fuck is wrong with wearing a shirt that comes from the 80s? I challenge anyone to answer me that. Some great goddamned shirts came from the 80s.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:46 PM on June 1, 2010


If you were looking for evidence that the 80s did, indeed, suck then shirts would be a good place to start.
posted by Artw at 10:48 PM on June 1, 2010


This evening, one simple observation took over Japanese Twitter, with over 1000 retweets:

Mori 387 days,
Koizumi 1980 days,
Abe 366 days,
Fukuda 365 days,
Asou 358 days,
Hatoyama 259 days
posted by shii at 10:54 PM on June 1, 2010


♫ one of these things is not like the other ♫
posted by edgeways at 11:11 PM on June 1, 2010


The necktie thing is largely due to his wife. Miyuki Hatoyama is a little... different. She claims to have been visited by UFOs on many occasions, and to have gone on trips with them as well. It was reported that she essentially dresses the PM, choosing his ties, and most likely the aforementioned shirt.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:16 PM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


One interesting thing, prior to Mori (who continued his round of golf after being told about a the sinking of the Ehime Maru by a U.S. submarine, the Japanese PM was Keizo Obuchi, who had a stroke and died in office.

Japan doesn't have the best luck with leaders. Even though Koizumi had a long run, a lot of people aren't ready to say anything positive about it. After all, he used the phrases make-gumi and kachi-gumi (loser tribe and winner tribe) to describe the growing division between upper class and lower class, as if it was perfectly dandy. Although the death of Japan's middle class wasn't started by Koizumi, he did his best to help it along, essentially doing the Deng Xio Ping "It's good to be rich" thing for the Japanese economy. It used to be passe to flaunt one's wealth in Japan. Under Koizumi, large areas of Tokyo we remade into flashy malls and residences catering exlusively to the super rich. Meanwhile, wages have been cut, and fewer and fewer Japanese workers can find full-time work, leading to lifetimes of part-time and contract work.

Of course, the kicker is, he's been the only remotely effective (at getting his agenda through) PM since I've been here.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:29 PM on June 1, 2010


Love the PM. Love the shirt. Y'all are haters.
posted by fishmasta at 11:30 PM on June 1, 2010


♫ one of these things is not like the other ♫

I was singing that to myself tonight, but for a different reason: TV Tokyo's "coverage" of the resignation. Apologies for the self-link.
posted by shii at 11:38 PM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ozawa seems to be a caricature of a venal, greedy politican

He used to be an LDP man. That should tell you something.

Don't immediately assume the LDP will make any gains in this election. The latest surveys from this weekend showed them polling at or behind the DPJ when people were asked which party they supported / planned to vote for in the upcoming election. And that was when the DPJ was expected to plow through with Hatoyama and Ozawa ("Ohato") at the helm. Now the DPJ's chances are much better, even if we're still at the "not-Ohato" phase of the DPJ leadership race.

Shii: Oh yeah, I saw that. Since TV Tokyo is the only major network not to run a morning news show it doesn't surprise me all *that* much, but it is pretty lame not to break into live coverage.
posted by armage at 11:59 PM on June 1, 2010


You know, when US networks cover the same damn thing its's considered somewhere between annoying and useless. I'm not sure how the broadcast coverage is, but I have a hard time imagining that a 9th station broadcasting the same feed of the news truly helpful.
posted by pwnguin at 12:56 AM on June 2, 2010


Is this his car?
posted by chillmost at 1:24 AM on June 2, 2010


That shirt is almost hipst...I mean, it seems like it might be worn ironi...er. Hm, maybe the folks over there know what they're trying to do.
posted by maxwelton at 1:45 AM on June 2, 2010


I kinda liked Hatoyama. But, damn, I miss Koizumi.
posted by snwod at 1:54 AM on June 2, 2010


I swear I've seen that shirt before, but I can't remember where. Perhaps on "Parker Lewis Can't Lose".
posted by dabitch at 2:59 AM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure which shirt is worse. Every time I see him on TV, he's got a new crazy outfit on. I guess if his wife is dressing him, that makes sense.

Also, ever since he's been in office, it's has become gradually apparent that the DPJ hadn't really thought out how to successfully implement all the massive changes they were promising during the campaign. I think their main fault is promising way more than they can deliver.
posted by p3t3 at 3:20 AM on June 2, 2010


Mori 387 days,
Koizumi 1980 days,
Abe 366 days,
Fukuda 365 days,
Asou 358 days,
Hatoyama 259 days


It's like Doctors. A spike in the middle period, with shorter, younger regenerations over time.
posted by rodgerd at 3:54 AM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Legend of Koizumi is hilarious. I hope the next PM is charismatic enough to make a sequel.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:19 AM on June 2, 2010


I don't see anything wrong with the shirt. But then I'm red/green/blue/purple/yellow colorblind.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:54 AM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Most educated Japanese I talk to are very depressed and pessimistic about their future. Hatoyama's departure is actually significant because the DPJ was (in spite of its flaws and in spite of Ozawa) genuinely trying to affect change in Japan, to develop a more "Westminster-style" parliamentary democracy with ministerial rule (rather than central control, and control by bureaucrats), etc. Man, these guys need to do something, and fast.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:31 AM on June 2, 2010


I think that shirt looks ok! He wears it well too.
posted by fuq at 9:43 AM on June 2, 2010


A Prime Minister's shirt should not look 'ok'. It should look fucking balls out tits on a bull. You think Monica Lewinski would blow a dude in a shirt like that? Hells to the no.
posted by spicynuts at 10:35 AM on June 2, 2010


In other funny shirt news, famous MMA fighter Fedor Emelianenko is interviewed about his favorite sweater.
posted by Anything at 12:28 PM on June 2, 2010


KokuRyu: Why exactly are they depressed and pessimistic? Failure of government amid financial crisis, I suspect?

How's Japan being hit by the international crisis... I know that they had a pretty major recession due to real estate speculation in the early 00's, right?
posted by codacorolla at 12:45 PM on June 2, 2010


Just what in the fuck is wrong with wearing a shirt that comes from the 80s? I challenge anyone to answer me that. Some great goddamned shirts came from the 80s.

There is nothing wrong with shirts from the '80s. But if a friend of mine showed up to my house dressed like that, I'd probably be compelled to tell him he looked like a mechanic for The Gap. Or something to that effect. Ask him how the Fresh Prince is doing. That sort of thing.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:32 PM on June 2, 2010


Pretty sure that shirt is a Gordon Gartrell.
posted by Kirk Grim at 2:59 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


codacorolla: The economy hasn't really solidly recovered in Japan. Growth is stagnant, and the financial meltdown in the States (Japan's either #1 or #2 trading partner, maybe China has moved up, can't remember) has hurt Japanese exports badly. Housing starts went up in April, as has just been reported, the report itself was kind of received with surprise, as in "really? people are buying houses?" There was a report last year (which my google skills fail to find) about the rather staggering number of empty/abandoned houses and condos nation wide.

As I mentioned earlier, the annual job hunt for graduating seniors is getting uglier and uglier. It's common for companies to promise positions to 3rd year university students, and this year, several companies had to tell the graduating seniors that, oh, sorry, we don't have a job for you. Last fall, the prospective rate for graduating seniors (the school year ends in March) was 62.5%, and while it ended up being a little bit better than that, it was pretty shocking. Furthermore, a lot of young people are locked into part-time or contract work, and unable to get into full-time positions, which, up until this generation, had been there for nearly everyone. For workers under 30, the annual income dropped to, if I recall correctly, less than $20,000 annually, and many still live at home with their parents. One of the things Hatoyama and the DPJ were trying to do was reform the labor laws to change the way companies use contract workers. Essentially, a contract worker (like, say, me) has the same duties and responsibilities as a full-time worker, just without the benefits or salary. Companies endlessly extend contracts, so that someone who is essentially a full-time worker can never actually become one.

Hatoyama and the DPJ were supposed to be a breath of fresh air. Their promises, like free high school tuition, stipends for couples with children, eliminating the highway tolls (which are absurd), and, as KokuRyu mentions, trying to take power away from the beaurocracy seemed bold and, well, promising. They have been fought every step of the way by the LDP. Seeing as Ozawa is former LDP, I wouldn't be surprised if half of the leaks about his (wholly illegal) actions came from former colleagues. Similarly, the Okinawa base deal was approved under LDP rule, yet there the LDP was, fanning the flames under the DPJ about "not caring about the citizens in Okinawa." The LDP is more concerned, seemingly, about returning to power than actually trying to fix the country, and people can see this.

Last thing: the news last night showed Ozawa meeting with the heads of the DPJ to discuss his (way too late) resignation. The room was filled with old men. Young people see this, and they know they're screwed. Young women see this, they see that the female head of the SDP, when she stood up to the old men, was sent packing. Leaders (as in PMs) in Japan traditionally come from certain universities (Waseda, Tokyo U., Kyoto U., and a few others). Most students at other universities don't even bother to think about politics, because they don't feel there's any way that anything they do can change the country.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:50 PM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


KokuRyu: Why exactly are they depressed and pessimistic? Failure of government amid financial crisis, I suspect?

The LDP can be considered--roughly considered--the equivalent of the Republican party in the U.S. The DPJ (Hatoyama and Ozawa's party) are roughly the equivalent of the U.S. Democratic party; hope and change, and all that. They are making a bit of headway in various reforms, namely going after government graft and do-nothing agencies and bureaucrats. But if the LDP comes back to power, the corruption will go back to normal.

But like the Democrats in the U.S., the DPJ has plenty of problems of its own...namely Hatoyama and Ozawa. The next guy up for PM is the #3 guy Kan, who looks every bit as limp and ineffectual as the last 4 PMs.

How's Japan being hit by the international crisis... I know that they had a pretty major recession due to real estate speculation in the early 00's, right?

Much the same as most industrialized nations: lower wages, increased rich/poor gap, government in massive debt, fewer job opportunities. I think Japan's economy is somewhat more healthy than the U.S., but the economy has never been what it was in the bubble days of the 80s. Probably never will be.
posted by zardoz at 4:01 PM on June 2, 2010


The LDP can be considered--roughly considered--the equivalent of the Republican party in the U.S. The DPJ (Hatoyama and Ozawa's party) are roughly the equivalent of the U.S. Democratic party; hope and change, and all that.

Though I know you said "roughly", it's not really a good comparison to make. The LDP has always been Japan's center-right "big tent" party; since they ruled for most of the past 60 years, policy differences were kept internal, discussed in private in smoke-filled rooms, and then a unified front was presented to the public. In that respect, they're more like the US Democratic Party than the Republicans, though I think a better comparison structurally is with New Labour in the UK (though with more cohesion).

The DPJ, on the other hand is a mish-mash of parties assembled and reassembled over the past 10-12 years. They are young, and have long defined themselves as being the anti-LDP party, which naturally pushes them to the left. However, they have had members from all over the political spectrum -- like I said about, Ozawa was originally from the LDP before he split to form his own party (the Liberal Party). There are true believers in the themes of "hope" and "change" in the party, and then there are the more pragmatic, realpolitik-oriented ones, and they've usually been at odds, which is one reason why the DPJ seems so much more "disorganized" in public than the LDP ever did.

In the past few years, as the revolving door of LDP PMs led to an ever-increasing sense of malaise among voters, the DPJ felt that they could make some headway -- and in July 2007 they did, when the Ozawa-led DPJ won big in upper house elections. Then they simply waited for the 2009 election, hammering away at the LDP all the while.

They are making a bit of headway in various reforms, namely going after government graft and do-nothing agencies and bureaucrats. But if the LDP comes back to power, the corruption will go back to normal.

The LDP, in its current form, will not return to power. There have been many defections from the party since last year, most notably Yoshimi Watanabe (outspoken reform proponent and head of Your Party) and Yoichi Masuzoe (once-popular health & labour minister, but his star has fallen somewhat since he formed Shinto Kaikaku party with some hard-line LDP MPs), so what's left is a core of conservative old men. They badly miscalculated when Hatoyama resigned, since that took all the wind out of their pre-election rhetoric sails. When the next poll comes out look for their support to fall against the DPJ, YP, and SDP.
posted by armage at 5:25 PM on June 2, 2010


Oh, and this is pure awesome.
posted by armage at 7:21 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Armage, the thing is, the poll numbers show that something like 25% of the public supports the DPJ, marginally less supports the LDP, and then there's the New Komeito/Sokka Gakkai coming in at somewhere around 10%, then parties like Your Party, the SDP, and all the 'new' parties getting between 0.5%-1.5%. The real problem? The more than 40% of Japanese people who don't support any party at all. 40% of the voters in Japan either don't care for, or don't care about any of the options available.

Meanwhile, Maehara isn't committed to putting his name in the hat, and aside from him, it would be Kan, who was the head of the DPJ until, wait for it, he had to step down because of financial improprieties. Personally, my sense of hope about the DPJ died the second they gave up on granting permanent residents voting rights in local elections. Yeah, they might be the best option, but that's more a comment about how bleak politics is here than a positive about the DPJ.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:28 PM on June 2, 2010


Armage, the thing is, the poll numbers show that something like 25% of the public supports the DPJ, marginally less supports the LDP

Those polls are from when Hatoyama and Ozawa were still at the helm and it was most likely that they would lead the DPJ into the elections. That has since changed, so I think their numbers will improve with the next round of polling (probably this weekend, after the new PM has been selected). Unfortunately, I agree with you that there will be a large number of "don't care / no support / undecided"s for the foreseeable future. Until Japan has someone who shows strong leadership, the high number of undecideds reflects this sense of despondency.
posted by armage at 7:57 PM on June 2, 2010


Maehara and Okada have reportedly agreed to back Kan as the new DPJ head (and PM).
posted by armage at 9:47 PM on June 2, 2010


Hatoyama's departure is actually significant because the DPJ was (in spite of its flaws and in spite of Ozawa) genuinely trying to affect change in Japan

How big of an issue was the Okinawa army base thing? I lived near the Hon-Atsugi base on Honshu, and holy shit were those planes loud. When I lived there 5 years back people talked about it as a nuissance and there was some resentment of the US soldiers and a lot of sensationalistic media coverage of crimes some military staff committed. this was at a time of friction with China and rumblings about changing the constitution to allow for more than just "self-defense forces". But I can't imagine actually decreasing the US military presence in Japan would do much for Japan's security or relative regional power. What's the deal, Mefites in the know?
posted by Kirk Grim at 10:29 PM on June 2, 2010


How big of an issue was the Okinawa army base thing?

The marine bases are a huge issue in Okinawa and always have been, really -- especially in the wake of the rape of a schoolgirl in 1995 and the crash of a helicopter into a school in 2004. However, it was really brought to the forefront by the DPJ, who promised to revisit the decision to move MCAS Futenma to another part of Okinawa (and not off the island or out of the country). Actually, it was really pushed by the SDP -- they staked their political future on the issue, which was what ultimately led to Hatoyama's resignation.

But I can't imagine actually decreasing the US military presence in Japan would do much for Japan's security or relative regional power.

Japan has a contradictory attitude towards the US military presence. On the one hand, they don't like the direct effects on the bases on the surrounding cities: crime, noise pollution, etc. They're also not too happy about the omoiyari yosan -- the money Japan pays to station US forces. On the other hand, however, Japan is loathe to give up their nominally pacifist foreign relations, and there is no real grassroots push for Japan to take over the entire burden for their country's defense. In broad terms, both the US and Japanese governments are content with the current SOFA and stationing of troops -- the disagreement comes down to the composition, number, and placement of forces in Japan. As Okinawa hosts a disproportionate number of US forces (about 22% of the main island is US military territory), they are the most affected, and the rest of Japan sympathizes with their plight -- though when asked to accept some of the burden of stationing troops, the attitude quickly changes to one of "sorry, love to help, but really can't."

Hatoyama spent 9 months trying to renegotiate an long-discussed agreement between the previous government and the US regarding the movement of Futenma, but ultimately he was unable to make any headway. The next administration will absolutely distance itself from the issue, and hopefully the US will be more willing to negotiate after seeing the huge outpouring of anger from Okinawans towards the current agreement.
posted by armage at 11:05 PM on June 2, 2010


Another reason, Kirk Grim, for the Okinawa thing having such an impact is Hatoyama kept going back and forth. He promised, full-stop, during campaigning that he would get Futenma out of Okinawa. So, strike one, he went back on a pretty strong pledge. Of course, suddenly, everyone in Japan cared about Okinawa and Okinawans, which traditionally hasn't been the case. I would wager a decent six pack of beer that the LDP did as much as it could to fan the flames in Okinawa and around the country, which is hilarious, because they're the ones that okayed the agreement Hatoyama was trying to revisit.

Even worse, after the massive protests started, Hatoyama started hemming and hawing. When, out of nowhere, people in Kyushu started protesting against even the possibility of a base in their town, Hatoyama was pretty much screwed. The thing is, the first big protest came a day or two after the US had already said that area was too far away from Okinawa and other forces to be acceptable. I have no idea why Hatoyama did just come out and say "Hey, Kyushu folks, you've got absolutely nothing to worry about." Between those protests, which got more coverage than any base related stuff I've seen before this year, and constant rumors about where they might move the base (Osaka, the Kansai Airport, even sending them all to Guam, which was rejected by the governor of Guam), Hatoyama had several chances to be a strong, or even a decisive leader, and at every turn, he only looked worse. Of course, how much was his doing, and how much was Ozawa pulling the strings remains unknown outside of small rooms filled with the lingering stench of stale smoke.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:28 PM on June 2, 2010


When, out of nowhere, people in Kyushu started protesting against even the possibility of a base in their town, Hatoyama was pretty much screwed.

There was an "exchange of opinions" with local leaders in Tokunoshima in Kagoshima Prefecture regarding the possibility of hosting the base, so it wasn't out of nowhere. The problem was that Hatoyama never said any of this himself; rather, it leaked out in dribs and drabs both from the administration (via Hirofumi Hirano, the chief cabinet secretary) or other parties (local leaders, governors, etc.). It was terribly, terribly managed.
posted by armage at 11:57 PM on June 2, 2010


Naoto Kan was elected the 94th Prime Minister of Japan today. Start your counters, everyone!
posted by armage at 5:25 AM on June 4, 2010


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