Wednesday, September 12, 2007

abe's setting sun?

(Joshua Masayoshi Huff)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stepped down as Japan's Prime Minister. This may be of particular interest to JJ Collective readers, as we have followed the controversy of Abe's staunch refusal to apologize to the "comfort women" forced into prostitution during World War II by the Japanese military.

It is widely believed that Taro Aso will take the post...though we will see if this will change the comfort women situation, which Congress has also got behind, calling for a swift apology from Japan to the hundreds of thousands of women throughout Asia for coercing them into serving as "comfort women" for the Japanese military.

Aso does not come without controversy--he said that he wanted to make Japan a country where "rich jews would want to live". He is also incredibly xenophobic and has called for the emperor to visit Yasukuni Shrine--a shrine dedicated to Japan's war dead. Any visit by any Japanese official to Yasukuni is seen as extremely offensive to the people of China and Korea, as it celebrates the Japanese Class A War Criminals and kamikaze pilots and generally trumpets Japan's imperialistic ways in the first half of the 20th century.

We'll see what happens. While Abe's time to step down has come (he lost mid-term elections, had many cabinet members indicted in scandals and had another cabinet member commit suicide), Aso does not seem like a positive replacement.

How can such a liberal, forward-thinking country like Japan put these parties in charge? Clientelism, of course. The LDP (liberal democratic party...Abe's/Aso's/Koizumi's party) has long been infamous for its clientelism.

Really, though...what political party doesn't do things to favor its constituents?

Stay tuned.