Brave Sir Robin ran awayYesterday Minister of Law Tanaka Keishu failed to show up at not one but two summons to answer questions before the House of Councillors Oversight Committee (Link), leading to the committee's chairman to demand his resignation as Minister. According to the Asahi Shimbun, Tanaka was seen this morning leaving the Diet Members' Residences at 9 a.m., climbing into the back of an official car, talking all the while on a mobile telephone.
Bravely, ran away...away...
When danger reared its ugly head
He bravely turned his tail and fled
Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
And gallantly he chickened out
Bravely taking to his feet
He beat a very brave retreat...
- Neil Innes, "The Ballad of Sir Robin" (1975)
After this, all hell broke loose. The Ministry announced that Tanaka would be missing the bi-weekly Cabinet meeting. It then announced the cancellation of all Tanaka's Friday activities.
The news then came down from the Ministry that Tanaka had awoken this morning with pains in his chest and elevated blood pressure. As a consequence he ordered his official car to change direction and take him to a hospital. (Link -J)
How long have I lived in this blessed land?
How could fall into the binary Resign/Fire gravity well, forgetting the notorious Third Option -- the Cowardly Auto-Hospitalization?
Perhaps because it has been such a long time since anyone in the top ranks of politics has taken this route to avoid an inconvenient situation. Even the Liberal Democratic Party, which had for decades provided enough gutless miscreants running for the clinic doors for a "Guess Who's Hospitalized Now?" quiz show, gave up the maneuvre as being just too cheesy. Ozawa Ichiro of course has had his paper surgical mask fetish, donning The Mask whenever the heat got turned up in any of his scandals (Link). However Ozawa's mask is not on the same scale as the full Monty (Python) of running for the ER.
Perhaps I was blindsided by Tanaka's not being on verge of being arrested for anything. For so many of the most successful of this blessed land's political funds fundraisers, the cool white sheets of a hospital ward were preferable to accommodations the prosecutors were likely to provide.
In my previous post on Tanaka, I put forth the proposition that he posssibly lacked the decency to resign.
Clearly I underestimated his capacity for anachronistic douchebaggery.
So Mr. Sam Cooke, if you could, just one more time.