The latest Japanese cabinet was sworn in yesterday, to the interest of practically no one in the country. More people were talking about the decrepit Sadaharu Oh finally retiring as manager of the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks than the rearranging of the chairs of what’s become an annual family reunion out Tokyo way. Oh was what the front pages of Osaka were full of. The photo of the new cabinet was on page three of some papers.
The new prime minister, for as long as he can last, is the grim, filthy-rich, hateful little nationalist, Taro Aso. Aso’s grandfather was Shigeru Yoshida, Japan’s first post-war prime minister. His father-in-law was Zenko Suzuki, a profoundly stupid man chosen by the back-room boys of the LDP as a stop-gap PM in the early 80s after the incumbent took a heart attack and died. The new foreign minister is the son of the prime minister who succeeded Suzuki in the mid-80s, and the Minister for Babies is the daughter of the PM who had a stroke and died in 2000. Another plodding new minister is the obedient son of the right-wing mayor of Tokyo (which amounts to letting the mayor of Tokyo join the cabinet without giving up his day job). The outgoing prime minister, Fukuda, is the son of the prime minister who was succeeded in the late 70s by the man who dropped dead in 1980, causing the appointment of Aso’s father-in-law. Fukuda briefly succeeded the hapless Shintaro Abe, whose father was the foreign minister in the 80s, and whose grandfather, Kishi, was the rehabilitated war criminal who was prime minister in the late 50s. Something like 16 of the 23 new cabinet members are 2nd generation politicians.
How anyone expects change from this inbred bunch is beyond me. Bring on the elections!