The Modern Tokyo Times

International news and neglected issues

Japan: a major economic power but a political system which is immature

Japan: a major economic power but a political system which is immature

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times


The Prime Minister of Japan faces a no-confidence motion and once more the politicians of this nation are shaming this country.  It doesn’t help when the electorate appears to jump on the bandwagon according to opinion polls which usually show the leader of this nation in a bad light, irrespective of the politician in power.

In every other major nation you have political leaders who serve their time and then they are either re-elected or they lose the election to the newly elected leader.  From time to time when a political leader is in office for more than ten years then internal pressure may occur in nations like the United Kingdom. Therefore, both Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair were forced to stand down because of internal party issues but this was only after they had been in office for a very long time.

In the United States you can only be elected twice but just like every other major power it is clear that politicians serve out their time irrespective of major developments which may be negative with regards to economic issues and so forth.

However, Japan is very different because it is a nation where political leaders resign on a whim and where factionalism within the two main political parties is deemed to be more important.

It also appears not to matter that Japan is located in a very powerful geopolitical region and this applies to economics, the nuclear factor, territorial issues and tensions within the region.

Added to this is the economic factor because the last twenty years on a whole have been rather negative.  Therefore, you would think that political stability and implementing long lasting policies would be in vogue but it could not be further from the truth.

Therefore, like usual, we have another political leader whereby not only the opposition want him to resign but also politicians within his own political party.

In Japan the political merry-go-round just goes on and on and clearly this nation is bereft of any firm direction because the political leadership changes like the wind, so to speak.

Regional nations like China must be “laughing underneath” because irrespective of the positives and negatives of the one party state in China.  It is abundantly clear that this nation does have long term goals despite many internal problems like social inequality, ethnic tensions and limited political and religious freedom.

In Japan it is abundantly clear that this nation is democratic and you have political and religious freedom.  It is also clear that you have some of the most highly developed companies in the world and several banks are amongst the elites in terms of capital.

However, in the political field then something is clearly amiss and why Japan bothers to send the prime minister to major international gatherings is beyond me.  After all, it is more than likely that the next major meeting will witness a new political leader.

The motion attacking Naoto Kan which he rejects is based on his handling of the earthquake which unleashed the potent tsunami and the nuclear crisis in Fukushima at the Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Strangely, with a hint of sarcasm, the ongoing nuclear crisis belongs to past policy mistakes and the comfortable relationship between TEPCO and past political leaders of the Liberal Democratic Party.

Also, the earthquake and the destructive tsunami and nuclear crisis can’t be pinned on the prime minister of Japan.  This crisis is unprecedented in history because of the triple reality of what happened and any political leader would be faced with multiple serious problems.

Despite this, political leaders can’t unite for even a short period of time and within less than three months the leader of Japan is faced with a no-confidence motion.

Once more the political reality of Japan is an international embarrassment.

Did Naoto Kan make mistakes?  Yes!  

However, given the reality of March 11 then all political leaders in the world would have made mistakes because the speed of events was very rapid and the magnitude and complexity is vast.

Irrespective of the performance of Naoto Kan the real issue is Japanese politics because Japan is “a self-induced laughing stock” in the political arena.  Elected leaders should stay in power for a set period which happens in every other major democracy.

If not, then what is the point of expecting and desiring change when prime ministers come and go all the time? (please visit)


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