Friday, February 26, 2010

For Those Who Have Lost Much, A New Day

Headline on the front page of my newspaper this morning:
Aiming Toward Accession to the Hague Convention: Prime Minister Indicates the Preparation for the Legal Underpinnings
After so many years, and after so much utter excrement about how it would be too difficult to reform family law and police practice in such a way as to force law enforcement officials into treating child abduction as a crime, a first step toward justice.

The prime minister's assertion that "in order to come to a quick resolution, we have to find a path toward making this happen" is only a start -- but a good one.

Some folks still hold a cynical "Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss" view of the Democratic Party of Japan and the ruling coalition -- that all the hopes the people have for change will come crashing down due to inescapable realities. This dismissive view is rapidly losing value. Considering the amount of time, energy and attention that have been lost to going through Prime Minister Hatoyama's and DPJ Secretary-General Ozawa Ichiro's finances these first few months under the new regime, I would be willing to be on record as saying the revolution has been moving forward at an encouragingly rapid clip.


Anonymous said...

Hear hear. You should find a media outlet willing to let you make that case. I, for one, would be interested to read it.

Anonymous said...

I look forward to a solid empirically based, objective analysis of the facts in historical context that shows without a shadow of a doubt that the DPJ has been any more effective in governing Japan than the LDP. So far, all one reads in the blogosphere is a lot of noise about the alleged differences from obviously biased individuals operating on wishful thinking that the DPJ is better. Of course, the question is: "better" in terms of what? Improving the economy? Not so far. Improving consumer welfare? Not so far. Radically restructuring governing institutions across the judicial, executive and legislative branches so power is truly shifted? Not so far. Fulfilling their campaign pledges on taxes and other family-directed measures? Not so far. Staying popular with the electorate? Not so far. Writing legislation on their own? Not so far. But good luck trying to convince people. It should make for entertaining reading if you get something published. I'll definitely read it.

D said...

A "first step" that I would guess would never have been taken under the Old Guard even though I could not prove that. Now for the rest of the steps....

John Mock said...

Interesting commentary, blog and comments. The movement, however small, to recognize international standards for kidnapping ("Child Abduction") is indeed an obvious step in the right direction.

On the comments, I am a bit puzzled. At the, what, seven month mark, exactly what "solid emperically based, objective analysis in historical context that shows without a shadow of a doubt that the DPJ has been any more effective in governing Japan than the LDP" could one come up with. This also begs the obvious question of what is "better" and what is "radical change" as opposed to ordinary improvements, incremental or otherwise.

Given the obvious point, made in the blog, that much of the time and energy of the first seven months has been taken up with "scandals" (real or imaginary) including having the LDP boycott the budget process for days because they were not being allowed to publicly skewer a JDP head (Ozawa) in public, one wonders just what kind of thing "anonyomous" thinks is appropriate.

There is a lovely parallel, I think, with the current Democratic administration where Obama is expected to have fixed the appalling economic situation inherited (clearly)from his predecessors. Not to mention the shrieks of "communist", "socialist" and such. Japan is a bit more restrained (but not necessarily that much if one watches Diet proceedings) but the approach of the LDP appears to be quite similar to that of the American Republicans.

Anonymous said...

Completely agree. The self-interested, pro-LDP Japanese media ia a lost cause, but someone, somewhere needs to cut through the inexplicable anti-DPJ bias of the English-language foreign media. Unlike Obama, I would say (although I agree with the comments that the mess he's inherited should be laid at the door of the people who created it) the DPJ has taken an amazing number of far-reaching steps in a very short time. I won't do it here, as there's not space, but it's an interesting exercise just to make a list of what they've done, and what other processes they've begun already.

Anonymous said...

"the revolution has been moving forward at an encouragingly rapid clip."

"self-interested, pro-LDP Japanese media"

"inexplicable anti-DPJ bias"

"amazing number of far-reaching (sic) steps in a very short time"

Hyperbolic political commentary in the blogosphere starts off as being entertaining, and then becomes tiresome after a while.

But such is the nature of the blogosphere. It is what it is.

MTC said...

To: Anonymous

Re: the hyperbolic blogosphere

The blogosphere is a wild marketplace and a mad laboratory for ideas, where what matters is the taking of chances, not the covering of one's derriere. It rewards a willingness to express entrepreneurial enthusiasm about developments and take contrarian positions without cynicism. At its best it pries the cold dead hand of conventional wisdom off of subjects that have gone moribund from years of mindnumbing government-, corporate- and plutocrat-sponsored formalism.

Yes, those who blog do get excited about the subjects they write about, but that does not mean they have lost a sense of proportion. They still find reasons to toss the occasional adverb into the mix, just to be safe.

Anonymous said...

"It rewards a willingness to express entrepreneurial enthusiasm about developments and take contrarian positions without cynicism."

"Entrepreneurial enthusiasm" seems to be a polite euphemism for something more crude. In any case, it remains to be seen what these "rewards" will be and who exactly will be bestowing them on whom. So far, the blogosphere is what it is: "a mad laboratory." On that, you and I essentially agree.