A week ago, I suggested only half facetiously that Hatoyama Yukio should choose the telegenic and tough Ren Hō as Chief Cabinet Secretary. Nothing would send a clearer message that a new sheriff is in town than to have a woman of Taiwanese heritage (who took Japanese citizenship for good at ripe old age of 18) as the government's main spokeperson, changing the official face of the Japan's government from this:
Of course, the Chief Cabinet Secretary is not just the main spokesperson for the government. The CCS is also the traffic cop for the Cabinet, overseeing who sees the prime minister and what issues the government handles on any one day.
An insane concantenation of jobs, in other words.
Given the immense administrative responsibilities, and the reflexive prejudice that has heretofore kept women from being appointed to positions of power (the exceptions being the Cabinets of Koizumi Jun'ichirō, where two women in succession served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs) the likelihood that Hatoyama would actually pick Ren Hō for the position was zero.
Nevertheless, given the need to make clear that a new day is dawning, especially so soon after asking Ozawa "Team Player" Ichirō to become the DPJ's Secretary-General, and so soon after the doozy of a PR disaster that the Voice essay turned out to be, one could have hoped that Hatoyama would at least thought about the atmospherics of his next big personnel decision, and chosen someone projecting an aura of vitality and openness.
Well...the reports coming out of the major wire services are that Hatoyama has made his decision and will name Hirano Hirofumi (Osaka District #11, 5 terms in the Diet) as the new Chief Cabinet Secretary...meaning that the face of the government of Japan in this bright, shiny brand new age will be this:
Perhaps the Democrats will go the Abe Cabinet route, and hand off at least part of the spokesperson duties to a Special Advisor to the Prime Minister.
Photos courtesy: Sankei MSN, Yomiuri, Reuters.
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