Ozawa Ichiro, the former leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan and its main power broker, represents Iwate Prefecture District #4. Iwate Prefecture and its neighboring prefectures had a little problem last year in and around March 11.
You may remember it.
Well, Ozawa Ichiro sure did. In fact, on January 3, he forewent his usual New Years party at his house to visit the disaster zone.
For the first time since March 11.
In a whirlwind tour of five locations, he took the time to criticize the government's response to the crisis, saying that it was driven by bureaucrats and top-down thinking, rather than from local, on-the-ground authorities making the decisions. "Has the government forgotten what it was that the people expected of the change in ruling parties?" he asked rhetorically.
"And where the hell have you been?" one might reply, not so rhetorically. "Not in the capital plotting to overthrow the very government that was trying to deal with the catastrophe through a bald power play of joining hands with the opposition in a no confidence motion, hmmm?"
As one participant at one of these canned meetings suggested, trying to put the best face on the situation, "I think it would have been nice if he had come a bit earlier...but to hear he is enthusiastic [about reconstruction and recovery] is good." (J)
Yes, it is good to hear he is enthusiastic about reconstruction and recovery...and to hear from him that if only he had been in charge, implementing as he would be the manifesto of the 2009 elections, things might be better.
"Uncharitable" would be the word to describe my thoughts upon hearing this report. Since I probably am already in pretty hot water over the sea slug comment, I will refrain from finishing this sentence:
"Ozawa-san, you are a total..."