Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Hatoyamas Have Things Made Up

A distinguished professor of Japanese Studies emailed me a while ago asking me about one bit of Prime Minister Hatoyama's policy speech which he found incomprehensible, rather than just reprehensible.

"Urakudari (裏下り)?" the good professor wondered, "I am unfamiliar with this term." He asked me whether I had come across it.

I confessed that I had not. A cursory search of the Internet turned up no definitions.

The good professor was flabbergasted. Surely the PM would not use a made-up word in his official policy address to the Diet?

Well, I have some good news and bad news.

The bad news is that, yes, there was no such term as urakudari.

The good news is that everything has been all cleared up. Based on an inquiry from Yamauchi Koichi of the Everyone's Party -- who like the professor wanted to know what the heck he is supposed to think urakudari means -- the Cabinet passed an official proclamation (kakugi kettei) on Friday determining that henceforth urakudari means "reemployment that cannot be confirmed to be amakudari conducted via the good offices of government ministries and agencies but that nevertheless cannot help but raise suspicions that it is amakudari conducted as a matter of routine through these good offices."(「府省庁によるあっせんは確認されていないが、事実上の天下りあっせん慣行と疑念を抱かせる再就職」).

So there.

Oh Hatoyama-san. Isn't it great to have a Cabinet that can retroactively define the words you make up?

Too bad the Cabinet does not have a similar power to retroactively erase Yosano Kaoru's astonishing line of questioning in the Diet on Friday, when he used a story he heard from your gnat-brained brother to accuse you of being not just "the king of tax evaders" but also guilty of lying to the Diet and the populace about your knowledge of your mother's donations to your political funding organization? He also called you a yakuza for having your underlings take the fall for crimes you pushed them to commit -- but that was more a theatrical flourish than a crippling accusation.

Wow, talk about a blindsiding by a member of the Diet who until Friday was known for his geniality, perspicacity and tact...and betrayal by another stupid man (for it is a stupid man indeed who places party above family) whom until Friday could smilingly call you aniki.

All that is destroyed now. No Cabinet proclamation can repair the damage that has been done.


Jan Moren said...

裏下り - good word.

Hatoyama brothers fighting in the diet about suspicious donations- well, it's not like the DPJ was not aware that he had dirty laundry and a brother in the opposing party when they elected him, right?

Great to have a new party in power, one that's completely different from the old one. I wonder what the party of "none of the above" will be like? Do I want to live in this country when we find out?

Anonymous said...

Either it didn't happen or Kunio has realised how poor this would play even if true and has come out and denied that he ever heard his mother tell him that Yukio requested money.

Apparently he claims he told Yosano that his mother suggested Yukio's had a lot of "henchman" who must cost a lot of money and wondered why Kunio did not have the same issue, and that Yosano must have confused things possibly with the input of a third party.

Either way, Yosano probably looks kind of bad just when he was forcing himself back into the spotlight....

MTC said...

sigma1 -

Thank you for the update. It seems that H. Kunio is taking the smart route and saying he did not mean what he said, or did not say what he meant, or whatever.

As for what the hell a patrician like Yosano Kaoru was doing down in the gutter...

MTC said...

Herr Moren -

The none-of-the-above party is, either ironically or inevitably, the Everyone's Party (皆の党 - I find myself strangely unwilling to accept the "Your Party" translation) which has seen its popularity grow steadily over the last few weeks. So encouraging have been the poll numbers that the party is embarking on a madcap candidate recruitment drive.

Anonymous said...

Oh my....

This is more of a shambles than the Japanese football team's performance v Korea I am watching right now.....or an elaborate plan to allow K to get out of the party on principle or something....

Durf said...

I sure with the cabinet had weighed in with the formal definition of the word before they threw it at us to translate. >_<