Wednesday, May 30, 2007

On the manifestation of human empathy

I should kick myself for having missed the wide shows this morning.

I did not get to check whether or not the guests and the hosts of these programs are mulling over or even propagating the theme floated by Suzuki Muneo--that the late Matsuoka Toshikatsu wanted to quit or at least put on a huge show of contrition and remorse but was prevented from doing so by Prime Minister Abe Shinzō.

[See the impressive rundowns of the reigning interpretations of Matsuoka's death at Observing Japan , Liberal Japan and Mutant Frog Travelogue]

If the chattering classes or the editorialists (not at the Yomiuri Shimbun of course) cleave to this new very subversive and corrosive narrative--that Abe failed to respond to depth of Matsuoka's despondency over remaining in his post-- then Abe's ability to remain Prime Minister will become tenuous indeed.

You can be crooked. You can be duplicitous. You can be naive. You can be hideously ugly. You can be flatulent. You can be boring. You can all of the above.

But if you want to be accepted as a leader in Japan, you cannot for one instant be thought to be lacking in ninjō (人情、人の情け = human empathy)for your subordinates.

And I hate to tell you (What is that, a phrase you found in a box somewhere? - Editor) a review of the record since Monday afternoon would show Abe-san a little short in the other-than-rote expressions of ninjō department.


Anonymous said...

If he cannot show ninjyo for a minister, then it will be a very cold day in hell before he apologizes to any comfort women...

Anonymous said...

Muneo Suzuki's statements are getting plenty of air time. I saw them replayed last night on News Station, this morning on Tokudane, and on some afternoon wide-show and again just a few minutes ago.

As far as whether his opinion is being taken seriously, it's a bit hard to say. I recorded Tokudane and will go back and watch it later.

Anonymous said...

I had nothing to do with the first comment, but I agree. But if Abe goes, will his successor be any better?

Will he have ninjo; will you?

Edith Cavell

Anonymous said...

The opposition also singularly lacks human empathy. Wonder why Shinzo Abe didn't attend Matsuoka's funerals in Kumamoto yesterday and was represented there by his wife? The DPJ refused to postpone the Q&A session at the Diet with Ichiro Ozawa. Now, that's mean...

MTC said...

Etiennerp -

I agree, with two further observations:

1) the demand from the DPJ got Prime Minister Abe off the hook. Have you seen the face Mrs. Matsuoka has kept on--a look not of shock and despair but black fury and incipient wrath? Were I in Abe's shoes, I would be thanking my stars that I was not going to have to face the family on its home turf.

2) the DPJ is not just lacking in empathy--it seems to be lacking in basic intelligence. Whatever the reason given, roughing up the chairman of the Health and Welfare Committee yesterday in order to PREVENT a lifting of the statute of limitations on the investigation of the whereabouts of lost pensions is beyond idiotic.

Displays of such "Winning or Losing in Nagata-cho is Everything" thinking are making it look like the DPJ is desperate to lose in July--even the monoimi of death clings to the Abe Cabinet.