In an opinion piece on page 15 of the paper version this morning's The Asahi Shimbun (I am trying to find a link) Columbia University Professor Gerald Curtis asks why the Tokyo District Prosecutor's Office has so far failed to hold a press conference explaining what it thinks it is doing in arresting Ozawa Ichirō's political secretary Ōkubo Toshinori -- and why the Japanese press has not asked for such a press conference.
The key passage from Professor Curtis' op-ed:
「国家権力があくまでも公平・公正に使われていると国民が信じられることが民主主義の絶対条件である。いま日本では政治家もマスコミも、さらに国民一般も、この問題にあまりにも鈍感になっていないか。」Well, by those standards of what is indispensible for democracy, one pretty much has to write off the ASEAN democracies, Bangladesh, Taiwan...
"That the people can believe that the power of the state is being used in an absolutely fair and equitable manner is an indispensible requirement of democracy. Have not the politicians and the mass media, and by the same token, the mass of the people, become far too desensitized as regards this problem?"
Of course, that is probably Dr. Curtis's point. Publishing this opinion article in the Asahi, he is trying awaken the populace to the fact that Japan has, or at least should treasure, a comparative advantage in Asia in terms of fundamental democratic precepts, and that these are being threatened by the lack of accountability in the actions of the Tokyo District Prosecutor's Office.
Anyway, it is good to see that not just wild-eyed bloggers in the thrall of the Democratic Party of Japan are thinking that the prosecutors have some to explaining to do.