Friday, June 29, 2012

They Do Not Even Bother Hiding It Anymore

On June 27, the power companies of this blessed land (pax Okinawa) held their annual shareholders' meetings.

At the Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) meeting, Osaka Mayor Hashimoto Toru, speaking as the representative of the company's largest shareholder, the City of Osaka, lambasted the company for pressuring the public into accepting the restart of the Oi #3 and #4 reactors and demanded an end to the company's reliance on nuclear power (E)

At the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) meeting, Tokyo Metropolitan District Vice Governor Inose Naoki, speaking as the representative of the TMD, TEPCO's main shareholder, proposed specific cost cutting measures and urged the new management team to regain the public's trust.

If Hashimoto, who is busy establishing a political party, tearing Osaka's civil service to shreds and fathering (if not exactly raising) children at an impressive rate has time to attend KEPCO's meeting, where was TMD Governor Ishihara Shintaro? Like Hashimoto he had an open microphone, has a serious attitude problem, a gift for the cutting put-down, the nation's full attention and the unquestionable right to speak as the local utility's top shareholder.

Nevertheless he passed on the opportunity to display some serious umbrage, or conversely, go against character to offer some constructive criticism.

Say what one may about Ishihara, at least he had the sense to send to the meeting someone who cares the issues: Inose, his unelected and indispensible subordinate.

On more than one occasion I have called Inose the actual governor of the TMD. What is surprising and telling is that the major news outlets are becoming more bold in portraying Inose as such, at least in terms of imagery. (J)

The Ishihara/Inose partnership has been one of the most peculiar yet productive buddy-buddy acts in local administration. Ishihara is the proudly ignorant bombastic arch conservative writer of junk fiction, still riding on the coattails of his brother Yuji, the archetypal male lead actor of the high-growth era. Inose is the cerebral former 1960s leftist radical turned author of dense studies of the arcana of Japan's economic, bureaucratic and political failings.

Ishihara gets to do the running for office, the ribbon cuttings, the dreaming up of wild schemes (like his plan for the TMD to buy three of the Senkaku islands, a whim saved by Inose's setting up of a bank account where hyper-patriots could send their contributions to the cost of buying the islands) and the insulting of the members of the TMD assembly.

Inose gets to huddle with the bureacrats and planners, working how to provide for the present and the future of the world's richest metropolis, home to 13 million persons and 50 of the globe's 500 largest companies. That Inose never, ever has to beg for votes, think about please campaign contributors or attend single a boring opening ceremony makes his the almost perfect job.

So when one is asked how is it possible that the populace of the TMD, which is not particularly obsessed with the nationalist bugaboos that pump up Ishihara, nor thrilled about his pet megaprojects, has nevertheless elected him governor four times, it is perhaps that for at least the last three elections it has been confident that it is not really electing him the governor. Instead, the people of the TMD have been electing Ishihara the megalomanical circus manager, always dreaming up new, flashy acts, thinking outrageous thoughts out loud, whilst Inose sweats out the details in the big man's penumbra.

That Inose is either emerging from or being forced out of that penumbra begs the question of what happens when Ishihara leaves the arena. Inose has never indicated a wish to run for public office. He seems to lack the personality traits necessary to do so.

Any supporters for the creation of a position of Vice Governor for Life?

Later - Due to an HTML breakdown, the original final paragraphs of this post were somehow erased. The above text is reconstructed from memory.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ishihara in the meantime has been busy thinking of names for the baby Pandas that may or may not be arriving. The Chinese press officer may have had the last word on this.