The news in Japan early this morning (June 2 – Japan Time) is that the Prime Minister decided to resign after all.
Other than the nine months of Futenma mess, and the lack of any other progress on the “regime change” manifesto, this just looks like another one of these obvious but yet surprising turns in contemporary Japanese politics.
The country has now had a series of short-term Prime Ministers (none really lasting much more than one year, if that). Although it’s not unusual in Japan—I think it happened in the late ’70’s-early ’80’s and the early ’90’s..
It’s just a shame that there is so much waste in a system that doesn’t even seem to be delivering on democratic promises. Minshuto (the Demorcratic Party of Japan) made a lot of them last summer to win power, and probably the best explanation why the Prime Minister is on the TV now, quitting, is that so many of them seem empty.
I am going to have to put up with these types who are going to blame the man’s problems on “the Americans”–as if somehow we pull some sort of strings behind the scenes in the Japanese government. I know that’s coming.
I just look at it as: do what you say you’re going to do, and don’t promise things that are pie-in-the-sky or undeliverable. Japan has its share of domestic-made problems, many of them, that have been ignored for 20 or 30 years. Some have to do with the collapse of the Economic Bubble in 1989; but others are of earlier origin, including an inability to reconcile with 20th century history.
I really think the politician class here lives in its own Bubble.
[Update: Yomiuri has it that Secretary General Ozawa, who is considered by many to be the real power within Minshuto, was also asked by Hatoyama to tender a resignation to the party. The TV news isn’t making much of this so far.]