Wednesday, September 19, 2007

An Institutional Void

One of the questions I have not seen being asked -- which I would like to see asked -- is whose job was it -- or whose job should it have been -- to keep an eye on the health and well-being of the Prime Minister.

The atari mae answer is Inoue Yoshiyuki, Abe's political secretary. He is the crucial occupant of Abe's Diet office, the other two staff members being receptionist/tea servers. As Prime Minister Abe's personal assistant, the person to whom Abe entrusts every facet of his political career, he was presumed to be keeping a close watch on his man's every grimace and complaint.

Inoue, however, is responsible for the health and well-being of House of Representatives member Abe Shinzō. He is not, nor should he ever have been presumed to be, responsible for the health and well-being of the nation's top official. As Abe's political secretary, Inoue had to stay in Tokyo -- the first time he had ever been separated from Abe for any considerable span of time -- to help Aso Tarō and others put together a new Cabinet.

Presumably Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki Yasuhisa should have been the official most responsible for watching out for Abe's welfare. However, Shiozaki was pretty much a zombie after the election and since the Diet was not in session, was inert and unresponsive. He was also not on the plane with Abe.

So as the Prime Minister's health deteriorated throughout his ill-starred visits to South and Southeast Asia, the only persons he had around him were terrified, useless functionaries, not a single one of whom had the sense or the authority to override the schedule and save the man.

Something tells me this means there is a damned huge hole right in the middle of the Kantei -- based leadership's organizational chart -- one that needs to be filled immediately.

Because you know what the first thing was that I thought when I saw that picture of Abe being taken away to Keiō Hospital by three special police officers in a hastily organized two car motorcade?

It wasn't:

"Ano metsuki o mite, he's right on the edge."

No, not by a long shot.

It was:

"Boy am I ever glad we don't have nukes."

No comments: