Monday, September 03, 2007

Blood in the Water

The press is high spirits, giddy. They are circling about Prime Minister Abe Shinzō, in ever tightening spirals.

Last Thursday, the Mainichi Shimbun, in a huge article, declared the retreat from “values-based” diplomacy a fait accomplit. In a separate article, it declared confrontation with the DPJ equally dead. The Mainichi and the Nikkei have called Abe a nowhere man--claiming that Yosano Kaoru is fully in charge of the Prime Minister's Residence.

The resignation of Endō Takehiko and Sakamoto Yukiko after less than a full week in office, however, has ripped the stitches out of the wounds inflicted by the first Abe Cabinet.

With Abe now bleeding all over, the sharks are getting agitated.

This evening's Asahi Shimbun's man/woman-on-the-street article, entitled "The Administration's scandals: 'What? Again?!'" ( 政権不詳事「またか」) does not even purport to offer a balanced view: the first four anonymous individuals interviewed roundly criticize the PM for running such a shoddy government. It is only in the fifth interviewee that the Asahi finds someone with something nice to say--though it is only the glass-half full observation regarding the Endō scandal: "Well this time, at least, the Prime Minister acted fairly quickly."

There are high spirits, though—and then there is playing with your prey.

According to the article printed in this evening's Nikkei, a reporter, speaking up at the press conference where Endō announced his resigation, actually had the cold cruelty to ask:

"So what are your feelings after being in office for only a week...and what do you think your achievements were during your time in office?"

That my friends, is just plain mean.

By the way, Endō, to his great credit, played it straight. In answer to the above mocking question, he responded, "During my time in office I had no achievements whatsoever. For having not been able to do anything I offer my most heartfelt apologies."

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