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Short takes from the weeklies

  • 2015-03-20 15:00:00
  • , Asahi
  • Translation

 “Yukio Hatoyama, go back home to outer space!”

 [Shukan Bunshun, 3/26/2015 issue, pp. 170-171]


o “Many (Japanese) people are brainwashed with the wrong input.”


o Yukio Hatoyama, 68, who once was a prime minister of Japan, visited the Crimean peninsula in the southern part of Ukraine, where he made that comment when he met the local media on March 11 local time. However, we wonder who is really brainwashed.


o “If that’s the case, I’d have to think of moving to Crimea.” (Hatoyama, answering a question from the local press about the rise of calls in Japan for depriving him of his passport)


o “Hatoyama is often referred to as ‘a man from another planet’ [in the sense of “a creature from outer space” or “an alien” or “an extraterrestrial being” or “a spaceman”], and he likes to be called that way. He used to say and do strange or weird things, but what he said and did this time around is excessively abnormal as a former prime minister and also as a politician. He also criticized the presence of U.S. military bases on Okinawa, which criticism was out of place there. When he was prime minister, he casually said he would move Futenma airfield ‘at least out of Okinawa Prefecture’, and he eventually aggravated the problem further. I wonder if he forgot that.” (an assistant political editor)


o Concerning Hatoyama’s words and deeds, the U.S. Department of State released a statement expressing “deep disappointment.” Even Yukio Edano, secretary general of the Democratic Party of Japan, which Hatoyama belonged to, has now forsaken Hatoyama, saying: “It’s a conduct that is not worth commenting and that harms the national interest.”


o There were four persons that accompanied Hatoyama to Crimea. One of those four people was Daisuke Haga, who has been Hatoyama’s secretary since he was a Diet member. Another was Hajime Takano, who was a brain truster of Hatoyama and chief editor for “Insider” magazine. The other two were unexpected figures. One of these two was Mitsuhiro Kimura, the leader of “Issuikai,” a right-wing nationalist organization. Kimura frequents the Russian Embassy and is a close contact of the Russian Embassy’s political counselor. The last one is Takehisa Ikeda, director of Smart Japan Institute.


o Hatoyama has again thrown Japan into confusion with his diplomacy. If he immigrates to Crimea, he would only trouble the local people. So we’d like him to go back to his hometown somewhere in outer space.


 Political merry-go-round

 [Shukan Asahi, 3/27/2015 issue, p. 178]


o Seiko Noda, 54, a House of Representatives member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, is apparently eager to run for the LDP’s presidential election to be held in September this year.


o “I’d like to become someone who will be asked by 20 [LDP] Diet members to run.” (Noda, quoted as speaking to an audience in January, hinting at her need to look for at least 20 LDP lawmakers who will recommend her as a potential candidate to run for the LDP presidency)


o Shigeru Ishiba, currently in the Abe cabinet post of state minister for local economic revitalization, declared in January that he would not run in the party race. LDP Secretary General Sadakazu Tanigaki is also unwilling to run.


o Makoto Koga, 74, former LDP secretary general, stands behind Noda with powerful backing.


o “Koga and Noda are often seen to have lunch together at a hotel in Tokyo. They might be working out a plan for the party race.” (an LDP source)


o Prime Minister Abe’s aides at his “Kantei” office are wary of such moves. On March 13, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga called Noda to a Japanese restaurant with a garden, according to a Kantei source.


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