What a day. When thousands of people have no homes or money, when we are scared to go outside and are worried about how to earn a living, our politicians play power games and muscial chairs. Whilst Prime Minister Kan was being feted by Sarkozy in France (Kan smiling broadly as the G8 leaders did walkabout on the streets of Deauville did not go down well here), his opponents in Tokyo were plotting to overthrow him and a no-confidence vote was held today. Kan survived but only because he promised fomer prime minister Hatoyama, who with Ozawa led the rebellion within the party, that he would step down 'once things had got under control' (ittei no medo ga tsuitara）. Now they're arguing about what this means and when exactly this might be.
I got an e-mail from friend Kazue in England who is very anti DPJ (the party in power, the Democratic Party of Japan). Yes, people made a mistake voting them in two years ago, their policies are populist and they lack vision. Their handling of the disaster has not been brilliant: communication has been confusing at best, information has been withheld, donations are only now reaching the people in need, local authorities have not been given the budgets and cash they need to get on with the job. But the last thing we want is an election. If politicians don't like Kan they should get on with the job of passing the budgets and all the million other things that need to be done and let the people decide in a year or so who's done the best job and who should lead. Since the disaster we have had leading actors and personalities from all walks of life in public service announcements encouraging us to work together (see link below). Everyone is working so hard. We feel let down and disgusted by these politicians who have time to waste bickering.
Incidentally, one person who is getting on with the job is Yosano, the very clever man with the gravelly voice, currently Minister of Economic and Fiscal Policy, who, when the LDP lost the election two years ago left the party and a while later went over to the oppositon and joined the government. He's working hard on the difficult issue of raising the consumer tax (VAT) to fund welfare. We need more people like him. People who're willing to put party politics aside, roll up their sleeves and get on with the job.
No, I'm afraid this is not the time for an election. It would be a waste of time, money and organisational resources. Not to mention the logistics of finding the people on the electoral roll and providing places to vote.
Here's a link to an advert that's been on television constantly (in the early days there were no adverts at all and these were all we had but it's still on and doesn't jade). It features pop group SMAP and rugged actor Kagawa Teruyuki. Why can't the politicians take these words to heart?
Here's a rough translation of the words:
Whatever happens you're not alone.
All of us are with you.
Making way for each other, helping each other.
We believe strongly, strongly in the future.
At this time, when we are one
We believe in the strength of Japan.
Japan is a strong country.
I believe in the strength of Japan.
It may be a long road.
But if we work together, we can overcome this.
I believe in the strength of Japan .