Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Since it's the first time it ever happened, I can't fully express the pleasure it gives me to see the Spending Review Committee sessions the new Minshuto government is holding as they investigate the worthiness of every last local regional and national spending program (as per the whaling program posted on below) and the public gets to watch the gravel-voiced bigwigs come in and try to defend their shadowy fiefdoms against young, intelligent and fully informed reps of the people asking pointed questions (How many amakudari do you have in your organization? How much did that highway cost? How many people a year visit your countryside tractor museum? How many equestrians use your village Horse Park?) It's a lot like I imagined actual democracy might be, if it's not an illusion after all. (Cynicism is a lot older than democracy.)

This is not the mocked lone wolf in the elected body trying to effect a smidgeon of democracy in the face of slavering jowls beside pork barrels; this is a new government actually trying to straighten things out, get things in the open, shed some light, identify the airheads, the conmen, the traitors to honesty, the black holes of integrity, guys who used to run the scams, put up bridges to nowhere, dam the valleys, pave the rivers, the guys who used to pull the strings, the guys with the daimyo houses and the limousines. Watching it in action, seeing public representatives peering into dark corners and asking hard questions in the public interest, is like scratching an itch so deep that it has never even been called an itch, let alone been scratched.

The Japanese people are historically used to an itch so chronic that it's more like a way of life, but now there are slimeballs actually sweating on TV, looking embarrassed at their now public dishonesty; there are godfathers grousing about fairness on camera in the lobbies. What a lesson this could be to other countries I could mention. Here's hoping the scratching doesn't end too soon; there's a lot more to this itch.


vegetablej said...

Wow! This is almost like a revolution, and is something I never dreamed would happen in Japan. Bravo to the government! Long may they scratch.

R. Brady said...

And every day on tv, what an itch it's all turning out to be!