Sunday, January 13, 2008

Let's have a moratorium

Here is a kind of statement I want to see less of, taken from former Gaimushō Asia Pacific Bureau chief and object of right wing contempt Tanaka Hitoshi's first installment of monthly op-ed* he will be writing for the Mainichi Shimbun:

[変革を可能にする政策を実行]を可能にするためには過去との断絶が必要であり、「政権交代」が必要であるとの見方があるが、現状においては、民主党の政権担当能力には疑問を持つという見方も根強い。

"There is a view that in order to effect policies that make revolutionary change possible there has to be a rupture with the past and therefore a 'change in government' is necessary. In the current situation, views are deep-rooted doubting the abilities of those who would be responsible in a Democratic Party- led government."
First of all, it is not difficult to doubt the abilities of those who would be responsible under a Democratic Party-led government. In fact, it is unavoidable, as the LDP has not allowed a Democratic Party-led government. Without any evidence, it is hard not to doubt. Perhaps if the LDP could be persuaded to let the Democrats run a government, we then might be able to make a more reliable prognostication about whether the Democrats do or do not have the ability to run a government. Until such time as the Democrats are granted that chance, however, doubting their abilities seems somewhat unadventurous, intellectually.

Second, while the abilities of a Democratic Party-led government may be an open question, it is a damn near sure thing that the Democrats could not mess up the country in more ways and more profoundly than a half a century of LDP-led governments have. Before we start worrying about the lack of Democratic experience, let us reflect upon what an experienced LDP has inflicted upon us all.

Better yet, let us have a moratorium on doubting or saying that we doubt that the DPJ could take over as the governing party, for whatever reason. The LDP just does not deserve the indirect credit or praise.

Of course, the above does not mean that Democratic Party leader Ozawa Ichirō should be let off the hook for his conspicuous skedaddle before the Special Measures Law revote on Friday.

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* The first installment of "Toki o yomu" appeared in the evening edition of January 10.

2 comments:

Derek said...

I find a couple of flaws in your reasoning:

"...as the LDP has not allowed a Democratic Party-led government."

1. You seem to be inferring that the LDP has some unspoken duty to give the Democratic Party of Japan a chance to take the reins of the government, even though the people of Japan haven't mandated that. Last time I checked, the people are the ones who vote for the LDP, and though there are flaws in the system and not every vote counts equally, that basic fact remains. "Persuaded to let the Democrats run a government"? Are you honestly arguing that this is a viable option, for an elected party (and please don't try and argue that the Upper House election is a mandate for the DPJ when it doesn't even have a majority, plus voters know it matter a lot less than a LH election) to hand the government to a non-elected one, just for grins and giggles, in a G-8 country? That is ridiculous.

2. No, really, "Let us reflect on what an experienced LDP has inflicted on us all". Sure, we can reflect on the iron triangle of business-bureacrats-politicians, the nationalism, and the various coverups that have affected so many Japanese negatively. The fact is, though, that if you are going to argue from a "blame the LDP for everything bad" perspective (which is fallacious, but too easy for so many to avoid), you can't justify an "ignore the good things that have happened under the LDP" perspective. Japan has done pretty damn well in the last fifty years on many accounts, and badly in others. The LDP is neither to blame for all the bad, nor is it to be lauded for all the good. Arguments to the contrary might sound great on the surface, but don't hold up under analysis.

MTC said...

derek -

Re: (1)

The LDP will not hand over power to the DPJ. All suggestions that they do so are facetious.

Nevertheless, my point remains valid: casting doubt upon the efficacy of something that has never existed is an insipid and unremarkable intellectual position.

Re: (2)

That the LDP may have done good too is not the issue. The assumption that the DPJ will screw things up because it is inexperienced is.

As for "blame the LDP for everything bad"...well, that is the sort of thing that happens to one when one is in charge. Otherwise one is rightly accused of shirking responsibility.