Monday, September 11, 2006

On Abe, Japan`s Next Prime Minister

Today`s Japan Living is sponsored by Hatori

by Kevin Burns

I shudder at Abe being the next PM. He is a nationalist and frankly I think there is too much under the table nationalism here. Just go to any sports game featuring Japan and you can see what I mean.

Japanese people are great, but the feeling of uniqueness and superiority over other Asians doesn`t need anymore tweaking. As reported in the local press, Abe wants to revive nationalism and the armed forces.

The latter you may be suprised, I don`t mind so much. Japan is already very, very strong militarily. No one wants to face that fact either,
but you can easily check to see if I am right or wrong. But I am confident you will find, as I have found that Japan consistently spends a lot of money on her military (in the top five in the world always). Being strong militarily in the face of China and North
Korea is a good thing, but reviving nationalism in a country that
feels she and her people are unique is not.

I would love to see a Prime Minister like former PM Hosokawa. He
was not highly regarded by Japanese unfortunately, but he is a good man and tried to apologize sincerely for the war. His apology was
straight-forward and not the mumbo jumbo, things were very unfortunate, that you usually get from Japanese prime ministers.
Of course he was shouted down for that. As well, I think Hosokawa
was an internationalist as opposed to Abe who is a nationalist.

I think more nationalism in Japan is a Leap in the wrong direction.

I wish the country were gearing itself for multiculturalism, another
fact that in usual Japanese style is creeping up on everyone. You
routinely hear"Gaijin ga ippai," literally, "We are full of foreigners."
The populace is clearly uncomfortable with multiculturalism, yet Canada and
other countries that are multicultural are very successful. The government
should be pointing that out. The government would be the first to admit that
Japan needs new ideas. Who better to get it from than the people of the world.

The government should be doing more to promote
biculturalism and multiculturalism because whether they want to
face it or not, it is slowly becoming a reality here.

Better face it sooner rather than later, and have to deal with race
riots and things like that. A good friend of mine taught at a
North Korean school in Saitama. He was often saddened at how he
heard the students were treated outside of the school by Japanese.
These were children. If Japanese can treat children so badly,
something needs to be done, and more nationalism is not the answer.
Understanding and promoting tolerance of other cultures is.

Would love to hear yours and others thoughts on Abe, who will most
likely be our next prime minister.



Bunker said...

What do you mean by just going to any "sports game featuring Japan and you can see what I mean?" You mean fans cheering on Team Japan? Give me a break! That's what you're supposed to do at a sporting event. If you're afraid of flag-waving idiots, then don't bother getting out of bed in the morning.

As for Abe, I'm not keen on him myself. He may be a shoe-in for the next PM but I wonder how strong support for him in the LDP is. What happens if his government doesn't last very long? Who's next in line for the job? I don't see a lot of strong candidates waiting in the wings.

Even if Abe is a nationalist bogeyman, I don't beleive the general public feels the same way he does. This might check Abe's ability to do stuff lke get into military adventures or change the constitution.

greatpowers said...

This is also being discussed at our main forum. You may want to check it out: