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The Chief Cabinet Secretary on the pensions issue December 11, 2007

Posted by fukumimi in Japan, Politics.
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Nobutaka Machimura, Chief Cabinet Secretary in Yasuo Fukuda’s current cabinet, finally comes clean about the promise the LDP gave to voters ahead of the election (which they lost anyway).

「最後の1人まで3月末までにやるというわけではなく、選挙なので『年度末まですべて』と縮めて言ってしまった」

We didn’t mean that every last case was to be completed by the end of March, but it was an election so we said that “we will complete it all by the end of the financial year”.

Oh, OK then.

That is a pretty staggering admission, though.

If that is’t a clear confession of an attempt to mislead the electorate (which failed miserably anyway), I don’t know what is.

I suggest that the people within the cabinet who made the commitments take responsibility, and not in the typically Japanese “I will take responsibility by persevering and delivering on my original promise (albeit with a grossly revised schedule)” fashion.

If the media had any balls (and weren’t in bed with the political circus), they’d drag up every instance of footage they have of LDP members during the election campaign insisting that they would get the problem resolved by March, and call for all their heads.

There is one critical difference between being a political commentator talking head on TV and being the Minister for Health, Labour and Welfare. The public expects accountability in the latter, especially when making bold promises. (In an ideal world, the former would also be held accountable for their words too, and we’d see much less of clueless idiots like Norio Minorikawa (Mino Monta for people watching TV), but I don’t see that happening any time soon)

We may see an election sooner than most pundits thought, although the thought of the inept (and in-fighting) DPJ coming to power, backed by conservative trade unions (in Japan that isn’t an oxymoron…) isn’t likely to produce much of a change in my book.

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