Sunday, April 01, 2012

Beyond The Morita Minoru Rule

Morita Minoru is a critic of and commentator on Japanese politics. He was once treated as a something of a sage by the foreign press. He even has or had (I have not checked in a while) a blog, the link to which is on the left.

Morita is less quoted and consulted now, mostly because of the Morita Minoru Rule, one of MTC's "Rules of Japanese News" (promulgated in 2006 and in desperate need of an update, especially Rule #1):
4) A political issue almost never works itself out the way Morita Minoru says it will.
For a long while Morita's pronouncements had value, in a negative way. You would see him on TV pontificating or read his prophecies and immediately be able to say, "Well, we now know for sure that that will not happen."

Recently the domestic and Japanese press seem to have abandoned Morita, possibly because what he has been spouting is, to borrow Wolfgang Pauli's wicked putdown, not even wrong.

It was good, nevertheless, to see Morita being quoted the other day, in an article where he was paired off against Nakano Ko'ichi of Sophia University (Jochi daigaku) someone who actually thinks about the political scene, rather than just talks about it. I urge you to follow the link and read the whole article, despite the grating initial paragraph, because if you do not the rest of what I am going to say in this post will be uninteligible:
ANALYSIS: Passage hinges on Ozawa, opposition
The Japan Times
Staff writer

Saturday, March 31, 2012 - Despite the Cabinet's approval Friday of a sales tax hike bill that sparked months of dissent and resistance from the ruling party's ranks, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda may find that in the deadlocked Diet, the more things change, the more they stay the same...(Link)
Okay, so now you are back. Did you notice anything? Did you notice an a slight queasiness? Did you feel that after reading the analyses from Morita, Nakano and the author herself, you came away with absolutely no sense of where anything was headed?

Welcome to the political space of Beyond The Morita Minoru Rule, a place of ultimate uncertainty -- where idiocy and brilliance, the preposterous and the inevitable cannot be distinguished from one another. Here the Morita Minoru Rule fails because even the people who are supposed to know something know nothing.

Is it important or not that 4 sub-cabinet level officeholders resigned their posts on Friday, especially as the Deputy Prime Minister tells the press on Saturday that the Noda government is not accepting their resignations? (J)

Who knows?

Will the Liberal Democratic Party under Tanigaki Sadakazu vote against the government bill raising the consumption tax to 10% in a de facto joining of hands with Ozawa Ichiro and those members of the Democratic Party of Japan loyal to him? When the LDP's manifesto calls for a raising of the consumption tax to 10%?

Who knows?

As the analysis article's unintentionally hilarious four-word paragraph...
"Then again, maybe not."
...indicates, arguments in either direction, with up and down thrown in to boot, all seem equally valid.

We are in a space which recalls former U.S. President Harry Truman's wish for a one-handed economist, as all his economic advisers, after stating their initial opinions, would then say, "On the other hand..."


Jan Moren said...

Are you OK with a longer quote/excerpt of the latter part of this post for my own blog?

MTC said...

Herr Morén -

No problem at all. Be my guest.