Thursday, August 31, 2006

Left out

Oh gosh--this does not look good.

There has been some talk recently--oh, let us say here , here, here, and...dammit, why couldn't the moderator just think of just one thread subject for the whole damn dispute--about the (possible) rise in intolerance of improper thought in publicly-funded research institutions.

Now it might be possible to argue that it should not matter too much what happened over at JIIA--and Amaterasu knows an unfortunate number of persons seem to have convinced themselves that "nothing is wrong"--except that the morning edition of my Asahi Shimbun of August 30 tells me that Komori Yoshihisa is one of Abe Shinzo's two closest advisors from within the punditocracy.

The other is--I wish I were making this up--Okazaki Hisahiko.

Whatever one may feel about the quality of the JIIA Commentary essays--and I thought the last one was horrible--Komori's use of the phrases "Anti-Japanese" and "radical leftist scholar" in his now infamous Sankei op-ed had no purpose other than to mark his targets as worthy of destruction.

That Komori succeed in having JIIA Commentary expunged from the public record (if not from the cybersphere) is bad enough.

What made the whole matter intolerable was the rank dishonesty of Saito Yukio's mea culpa. Whatever Saito-san did, he did not "reflect deeply" on his responsibility. Whatever it was that was so offensive, it certainly not the "misuse of technical terms."

Were I the skeptical kind, the insincere Saito "apology" would make me wonder about the worth of the identically phrased apologies drafted by Saito's former employer.

Furthermore, the identification of Komori and Okazaki as confidants feeds into a gnawing worry --that Abe and his Cabinet ministers are about to make a real hash of things.

Koizumi took years to develop his keen grasp of the fracture line in the Japanese polity, the point where persons of good faith will rally around a leader who chooses to make a stand. Intellectually honest, Koizumi has never been sure at the outset where the rallying point might be. The variety in the kinds of Yasukuni visits he made over the years demonstrated his willingness conduct a dialogue with the populace over where he could eventually draw the line.

Abe and his people are cut from a different cloth. So many of those hovering in the wings seem to share an adamant conviction in the correctness of their views.

Unfortunately, when the dead certain go beyond what the public can accept, falling on their faces in the process, they tend not to blame themselves for overreaching. Instead, they blame the public's perfidity--or dark, disloyal forces undermining the State, the dignity of the Government, the national character...whatever unquestionable good they decide has been besmirched.

In sum, I would be a lot more sanguine about Abe had he a few more bon vivant flakes trailing in his wake.

1 comment:

Robert Dujarric said...

Yes, bad news.
Komori-san and those who share his views fail to realize that if they want Japan to become a "normal country" it must come to terms with the past. Germans now fight in Afghanistan, they took part in the Kosovo war, they engage in peacekeeping in the Balkans, they are part of the negotiating team handling the Iran nuke issue (where is Japan?), Israelis want them on their border. Does Komori-san think that Germany could be as active on the world stage if it weren't for its effective management of its history issue?
One step for Japan to become a normal country would be for the Prime Minister and the Emperor to jointly bow in front of the memorial to the Nanking Massacre and at the Independence Hall in Korea (Chancellor Brandt went on his knees in Warsaw, but this was the Christian thing to do, I think bowing is the Japanese way). This will do more to enhance Japanese power and prestige than Komori-san's columns. In some cases, apologies make you strong, denial weakens you.