Thursday, September 29, 2005

It is from the muck that the lotus emerges

Richard Lloyd Parry of The Times is granted an exclusive interview with the PM and produces this. Koganei resident and all-around curmudgeon Earl Kinmonth get his two yen in about it and asks a question:
Although I have been a resident of Japan the entire span of Koizumi's tenure in office, I cannot for the life of me think of any reforms of any significance that Koizumi has actually achieved. Can someone help me out here?

Not following the advice of the Ministry of Finance on tightening the purse strings or raising taxes?

Not cluttering up the economic machinery with any really dumb stunts (anyone seen a 2000 yen note lately)?

Letting the Bank of Japan's Fukui Toshihiko redefine the position of central banker as "the individual charged with the task of not making decisions about the money supply, as conditions demand"?

Appointing a financial reconstruction minister committed to pressing the banks to stop deferring the write downs of the bad loans in their portfolios?

Not having governmental or semi-governmental financial entities intervene in the stock markets (through PKOs or other such nonsense) despite a big slump during the first two years of his prime ministership?

Weaning the LDP from its reliance on farmers, postmasters and the construction industry, setting the stage for massive reductions in goverment support for these economic actors?

Getting the SDF involved in security actions outside the Asia-Pacific region without running to the UN for cover?

A lot of non-actions to be sure--but the Hippocratic injunction "First, Do No Harm" was ignored by Koizumi's predecessors.

Late Breaking Developments - Due to strong negative reactions in Japan and in China to statements attributed to Koizumi, The Times is now offering a full transcript of the interview.

Even Later Breaking Developments - Parry and Robert Thomson drop in for a chat with foreign minister Machimura Nobutaka.


Anonymous said...

Nobunaga a lowly samurai indeed. Robert Thomson should be able to do better. And the closing, vacuous paragraph reproduced below comes out of nowhere, failing to flow naturally from what precedes it. I think the reporters glossed over the actual circumstances of Nobunaga's death because that would have made it even more disconsonant.

"After Oda’s defeat and suicide, it took two more warlords before peace came to Japan. It may be that, like his hero, he will come with hindsight to look more like a transitional figure than the revolutionary he appears. Perhaps the best he can hope for is that, unlike Oda’s, his career ends peacefully and on his own terms."

And their names may not be well-known in the UK, but surely Hosokawa Morihiro, Murayama Tomiichi and Hashimoto Ryutaro, to name three of Koizumi's seven predecessors were not exactly "grey men" who "passed" "the job" from one "to the next". This is another case of lazy journalistic stereotping, induced perhap by a looming deadine.

The aricle is also a testimony to the enduring ingenuity of Koizumi's act: the DPJ, as in the election, is bypassed in the article; for example:
"in the Upper House, most of the MPs who threw it out are expected to capitulate this time."

But more to your point, Mr. Contemplation, do you think what Koizumi has done with roads and bridges is a good harbinger of what Koizumi will do with the other end of the postal money pipe?

MTC said...

According to news accounts, the PM wants to reassign the revenues of the toll roads. So as far as reform of the Doro Kodan, there seems to be more than one way to skin a cat.