They swept to power in September last year, the DPJ, Democratic Party of Japan. Finally after almost fifty years of having to endure the same party, the people of Japan said “Enough! We want change!”The new Prime Minister, Mr Hatoyama, during his party’s campaign, promised the nation the change they hoped for. Changes, he said, that needed to be implemented. The people listened and believed. That was in July and August of last year and still we wait. The citizens are now starting to question whether this new government is able to live up to its hype. The changes that were promised seem nebulous. Indeed it is becoming clear that these pledges were quixotic plans only designed to influence the voting public.
In late November, 2009, Mr Hatoyama officially reneged on some of the assurances made. Firstly, he reneged on his promise to cut the gasoline and road tax. The Prime Minister cited the loss of millions of government revenue for use in other areas. There was a general consensus, following this announcement, that Hatoyama had bitten off more than he could chew. Secondly, he reneged on his pledge to introduce free high school education, (at the moment only elementary schools and Junior high schools are free), again citing money woes. Hatoyama was quick, however, to point out that these money concerns were the result of the previous government’s excessive spending and therefore the DPJ was “Cleaning up the mess”. Now the people of Japan are starting to say, “Just as we should have expected. This government is no better than the last.”
I as a foreigner living is this country, I have to sit back and watch as politicians like Hatoyama and another man by the name of Ozawa, proceed to deceive and pontificate the gullible public. With their plastic smiles and false words of promise, I can’t help but feel frustration at the Japanese people for not showing more interest in politics. Japan is being governed by filthy rich bozos who have no real understanding of their own political system. Many members of the Japanese Parliament, or Diet as it is called, are septuagenarian and thus possess anachronistic ideas and policies. Money is truly the root of all evil in Japan. Mr. Hatoyama himself receives “pocket money” from his mother – the daughter of Bridgestone Tire Company founder, Ishibashi – to the tune of a few million yen per month. This has angered many across the country. Last year, Hatoyama had to pay the tax dept millions for undeclared earnings – it seems mom had contributed to his political party, something that is against the Japanese Constitution. Ozawa too, is under investigation for erroneous dealings in the past.
And so it goes on, never to end, it would seem and no one seems to want to do something about it. ‘Apathy’ is the only word that springs to mind. In conclusion, it would not surprise me if this new government calls a snap general election this year – the pressure too much for Hatoyama and his cohorts. The DPJ will lose such an election and Japan with be back with the same government it has had for fifty years. Nothing will change and my frustration will grow.