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Thread: Japan's interesting new Prime Minister

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    Œ‹àŽ– (what a tasty dog) A ke bono kane kotto's Avatar
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    Japan's interesting new Prime Minister

    Have a look at this Taro Aso is not just the average Japanese politician. He stands out by a number of points.

    His is a Catholic who studied in the USA (Stanford University) and the UK (London School of Economics).

    He worked in the diamond business in Sierra Leone (ever heard of blood diamonds ?), then worked for his father's mining company in Brazil. He speaks English and Portuguese fluently.

    Our man is not just a businessman and politician, he was also a member of the Japanese shooting team at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

    On the family side, he is also the grandson of former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, and the great-grand-son of Toshimichi Ōkubo, one of the three great nobles who led the Meiji Restoration. His father was a close associate of Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, and his wife is the third daughter of Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki. To top it all, his younger sister, Nobuko, is the wife of Prince Tomohito of Mikasa, a first cousin of the Emperor Akihito. Quite a pedigree ! I don't know if his sister is also a Catholic, but that would be strange for a member of the Imperial Family, the "spiritual leaders" of Shintoism.

    It does not make him more clever for that. On October 15, 2005, he praised Japan for having "one culture, one civilization, one language, and one ethnic group," and stated that it was the only such country in the world. I am not going to make a list of countries that also have a single culture and language (Iceland, Greece...). The big blunder was to think that the Japanese are a single, homogenous ethnic group. It is not ! Okinawans and Ainus are clearly different. Japanese people themselves are an admixture of many ethnic groups, more so than the Koreans.
    I like ”ülƒlƒX

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    " New transport minister Nariaki Nakayama on Friday apologized over his controversial remarks that included calling Japan ‘‘ethnically homogenous,’’ in face of criticism triggered not only from opposition parties but from ruling party members. ".Nakayama's official resignation was accepted by Aso administration this past weekend.

    The symptoms of a country that is obsessed with "being homogeneous".

    Japan's foremost nationalist,Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, wrote in 1968, for example, that Japan was effectively a homogenous country that had maintained an "absolutely original culture" for centuries.

    26 years later,he refuted his own words.

    In Ishihara's 1994 book "No-to-ieru Asia" ("Asia that can say no"), however, he described the perception of Japan as an ethnically homogeneous country as absurd, stating that Japan is a mixture of "all the ethnic groups in Asia."

    Exactly,Japanese are more ' mud ' than the Koreans.There is some evidence that Austro-Asiatic people ( Hayato & Kumaso absored by the Yayoi ) and early Japanese had similar habits of teeth blackening and tattooing their faces, etc. These people would like be related to today's indigenous Vietnamese.The Viet women always have the tradition of ' blackened their teeth ' ( see photo & article ),it's still practice today over there.

    http://www.thingsasian.com/stories-photos/20949
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    No rain in Seattle! grapefruit's Avatar
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    He does have impressive credentials. The only possible weakness I can find in his profile is his first name "Taro". Indeed he is the first and only person I know who actually has this name...

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    Gackt's Queen Gackt21's Avatar
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    I think he has a couple screws loss. The Japanese have different groups of people within their society. Not as much of a difference as my country but they have different people.


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    Back in town JerseyBoy's Avatar
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    Japanese politicians = Lots of hot air and no brain. Sorry about sarcasm. I find none of them inspiring. Is he that good in communicating in English? Most of the Japanese politicians' English is too stilted to be useful in high level dialogue with the world leaders (or any leaders in the world for that matter).

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    Unfair ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JerseyBoy View Post
    Japanese politicians = Lots of hot air and no brain. Sorry about sarcasm. I find none of them inspiring. Is he that good in communicating in English? Most of the Japanese politicians' English is too stilted to be useful in high level dialogue with the world leaders (or any leaders in the world for that matter).
    I have seen very few politicians of any country, not just Japan, that impress me as having good human qualities.

    Uncle Frank

    TAKE WHAT I SAY WITH A GRAIN OF SUGAR !!
    I USED TO BE FUNNY, BUT MY WIFE HAD ME NEUTERED!

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    Back in town JerseyBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Frank View Post
    I have seen very few politicians of any country, not just Japan, that impress me as having good human qualities.
    Uncle Frank
    But, you gotta admit Aso is a very low grade PM (among many low grade PMs of late in Japan). I don't follow Japanese politics at all except for some news articles in English. I just hope all of LDP (the current incumbents in the lower house) to loose their seats forever in the next election (I also want the commie party to loose their seats as well in the one fell swoop).
    I have never cast a vote in Japan (sorry). So, I am not an active concerned citizen of Japan as I am in the process of going overseas for the very long haul again-this time for a semi permanent basis).
    (but, I think it would be hard to go below the level of George W. Bush's competence. On the good note: he gave a slight hope that a person with a poor command of English and reduced mental capacity can hold a highest public office in USA)
    Last edited by JerseyBoy; Nov 24, 2008 at 16:00.

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    Cool Prime Minister

    I don't know a lot about there new leader, but there is nothing wrong with having pride in your country & it's people.
    There are few countries left with one language, one people, & the Japanese people are still willing to stick together. Once you loose boundaries & an official language, you seise being a country. I live in America, & those qualities are lost here. I see Asia as the super power. It just seems in most countries including America, that the ones in power serve themselves & there agenda. In the end the people are the ones who suffer. Since I am one of those people & I have no power, I decided to pray for all leaders to do what was best for the people, & that they would follow what God wanted them to do. It helps me feel better & gives me hope.

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    No rain in Seattle! grapefruit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasuke17 View Post
    I don't know a lot about there new leader, but there is nothing wrong with having pride in your country & it's people.
    There are few countries left with one language, one people, & the Japanese people are still willing to stick together.
    Japan has minorities and minority languages are spoken within the country.

    Anyway, I recently heard that the name "Taro" or "Ichiro" is common among second generation politicians who inherited their fathers' political influence. In Japan, voting is still conducted by writing down the candidate's name so that the simplest name like "Taro" is often chosen intentionally by politicians who desire their sons to be politicians in the future.

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    Back in town JerseyBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grapefruit View Post
    Japan has minorities and minority languages are spoken within the country.
    Anyway, I recently heard that the name "Taro" or "Ichiro" is common among second generation politicians who inherited their fathers' political influence. In Japan, voting is still conducted by writing down the candidate's name so that the simplest name like "Taro" is often chosen intentionally by politicians who desire their sons to be politicians in the future.
    I did not know the Japanese voters actually hand-write the candidate's name of their choice. Do they accept the names in alphabets instead of Japanese characters?

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    Œ‹àŽ– (what a tasty dog) A ke bono kane kotto's Avatar
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    Have a look at this : Gaffes put Japan's Aso under fire.

    Less than three months after taking office, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso is watching his poll numbers plummet.

    The latest figures, from four separate polls, put his approval rating between 21 and 25.5%, down at least 15 points from November.

    The charismatic Mr Aso - Japan's fourth prime minister in three years - was meant to give the party enough of a bounce to call and win an election.

    Instead public confidence in him is in freefall. His popularity is lower than that of both Mr Fukuda and his predecessor, Shinzo Abe, when they stepped down.
    They say the problem is "his big mouth".

    His own ministers aren't better :

    Almost as soon as Mr Aso took office, his tourism minister, Nariaki Nakayama, had to resign after calling Japan an "ethnically homogenous" country that did not like foreigners.
    Aso is not worse than the average Prime Minister :

    He joked about Aids, said the US was full of "gangsters" and offended the entire city of Osaka by calling it a "spittoon". After a few months in office, bureaucrats reportedly made him speak only from cue cards.
    And you wonder why "TV drama" is so popular in Japan ! Maybe the ministers are just giving what the people want after all !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasuke17 View Post
    I don't know a lot about there new leader, but there is nothing wrong with having pride in your country & it's people.
    He is insulting his own people ! Aso is only approved by 20% of the Japanese. That's even less than Bush in the States !

    There are few countries left with one language, one people, & the Japanese people are still willing to stick together.
    I don't understand. What do you mean by "sticking together" ? What do you mean by "there are few countries left with one language, one people" ?

    I think that there has never been so many countries built around an "ethnic" (whatever that means) or linguistic group that since the 1990's. Eastern Europe used to belong to either Russia, Austro-Hungary or the Ottoman Empire until the early 1900's. There are now 20 countries. The latest are Kosovo and Montenegro. 200 years ago there were only vast colonial empires and very few countries. Even Japan was not a language-based country during its imperialist period (1895-1945).

    Once you loose boundaries & an official language, you seise being a country.
    How could an island country loose its boundaries ? What makes you say that anyway ? Why should there be only one official language in a country ? India has 2 official languages. The USA has none.


    I live in America
    That explains a lot.


    & those qualities are lost here.
    The USA didn't lose it's official language, it never had one.

    I see Asia as the super power.
    Asia is not a country !

    It just seems in most countries including America, that the ones in power serve themselves & there agenda. In the end the people are the ones who suffer.
    Politicians aren't people ?

    Since I am one of those people & I have no power, I decided to pray for all leaders to do what was best for the people, & that they would follow what God wanted them to do. It helps me feel better & gives me hope.
    Pray, god, hope... Again, that explains a lot.

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    Sounds like Taro is very cultured.

    I would like to meet him sometime in person, and decide for myself what kind of person he really is, by his actions and plans for his nation. (instead of relying on CNN for intel to pass judgment.)

    Being a Christian in Japan, and rising to PM means he is relentless, or it is a set-up to make eveyone believe Japan is turning Christian for some unknown reason.

    I would have to investigate into this a bit more, before I suscribed or assumed anything concerning Taro.

    If he really is a devout Christian AND Shinto, I would probably seek his services as a go-between and messenger to Emperor Akihito, if His Imperial Majesty refused to see or talk to me, and I actually wanted or needed to see or speak with him.

    I will be watching.

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    Nobuta Power ’“ü Dogen Z's Avatar
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    Aso doesn't seem to know what he's doing except to hang on to his Office. Maybe he likes the perks? Nevermind what the people want.
    Hmmm, they say that people get the government they deserve.

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    Back in town JerseyBoy's Avatar
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    It seems Aso is the most out-of-touch PM Japan has ever had (that feat itself is very difficult for anyone to achieve). Well, who cares. His party will be decimated in the next general lower house election to usher in the lookalike party to continue the never-ending race to the bottom (and the path to the lower standard of living in the long term).

    There was the news Aso and Obama had a 10 min conversation recently. I hope Obama understood what Aso was saying. Despite his claim that he speaks English, his ability to communicate in English is abysmal (based on the news clip I saw in the media).
    Last edited by JerseyBoy; Feb 2, 2009 at 11:37.

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    There was the news Aso and Obama had a 10 min conversation recently. I hope Obama understood what Aso was saying. Despite his claim that he speaks English, his ability to communicate in English is abysmal (based on the news clip I saw in the media).
    If your President could speak Japanese, our PM's poor English skill was no problem.

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    Back in town JerseyBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hanachan View Post
    If your President could speak Japanese, our PM's poor English skill was no problem.
    Unfortunately, Japanese is not a main international language...(so it is not really worth learning it if you are not living in Japan).

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    http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-...902110041.html
    A 14% approval rating

    Update:
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/36c58650-f...077b07658.html
    The guy will be kicked out of office soon. The fat lady is now waiting in the back stage.
    Last edited by JerseyBoy; Feb 14, 2009 at 18:42.

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    Regarding Aso

    It seems that after Koizumi left the office Japan has had rather serious problems with subsequent PMs. Neither Shinzo Abe, nor Taro Aso was/is fit for the post...As for Fukuda Takeo, he must have known that he was only an 'interim PM'. Anyway what worries me personally about both Abe and Aso is their quite visible nationalistic bend. As for Aso there is still the issue of POWs who were exploited in the mines run by the Aso family. Interestingly it seems that in the corporate history of Aso family business activities there was no mention about this 'incident' from their past at all. Aso should apologize for that.

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    Nobuta Power ’“ü Dogen Z's Avatar
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    Jet Setter

    My beef with Aso is that he's dashing off here and there on the taxpayer's yen on his more or less private jet, Japan's equivalent of Air Force One, even though his effectiveness as a leader of the country is nil, so he can't make any promises. I think he's travelled more than Koizumi in the few months he's been in office. He probably does so to keep out of public glare, but also because he likes the perks of office. He's scheduled to go to China for a summit, then London for another summit, and he's trying to arrange a Europe trip for Golden Week.

    For all this he's just giving us a measly 12,000 yen. Why doesn't he give us 1,200,000 yen if he really wants to stimulate the economy? (I'm not telling him the answer because I hope a reporter asks him this question.)

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    Other candidates

    True. His plan for revitalizing Japanese economy is not good either. It seems to be the old style pork barrel politics. I think that he was strongly criticized by Koizumi for his economic ideas. Anyway the question is who might replace him? Any ideas?

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    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparrowhawk View Post
    True. His plan for revitalizing Japanese economy is not good either. It seems to be the old style pork barrel politics. I think that he was strongly criticized by Koizumi for his economic ideas. Anyway the question is who might replace him? Any ideas?
    You mean as LDP leader after losing the next general election ?
    I'm pulling for former Defense Minister Koike Yuriko, who Mr. Koizumi supported for prime minister in the party election that chose Aso Taro.


    I think we all know who will be the next prime minister.

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    Koike Yuriko seems to be a possible choice for the head of the LDP. But again what worries me is her approach to the Yasukuni issue. As far as I remember she pledged that she would worship in the shrine if she was elected. If she really was to do it, with the greatest degree of probability this would cause another diplomatic crisis in the region. The case of Koizumi visits showed that neither the PRC nor South Korea will take it easily. Or is it possible that she would refrain from doing that in order not to disrupt relations with Japan's neighbours?

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    Nobuta Power ’“ü Dogen Z's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth View Post
    I think we all know who will be the next prime minister.
    Not if he's implicated with the DPJ Secretary, and it would be extraordinary if he isn't. If his Secretary isn't exonerated and he doesn't step down, then I think voters will completely lose confidence in politics and not vote. The LDP would then win by default and we would have more years of Taro Aso.

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    It seems that as for now Ozawa intends to stay and some of the DPJ members support him on this matter...The investigation should clarify the situation.
    A different issue - today I listened to a lecture which was given by a Chinese academic on the state of current Sino-Japanese relations. In terms of foreign policy he credited Abe and Aso administrations for improving relationship with the PRC. He criticized China for refusing to have summit meetings with Koizumi and for not giving enough credit to Japan as a democratic and pacifist nation. On the other hand he also pointed out that Japan needs to rethink its attitude towards Taiwan and the history issue. I was just wondering whether some subsequent Japanese administration may do such thing....

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