Here’s one thing the Koreans like about Japan
Posted by ampontan on Thursday, July 8, 2010
THE 3 JULY issue of the weekly Shukan Gendai contains an interview with Murakushi Eiichi, who’s written a book about the prosecutorial system in Japan. The locus of Mr. Murakushi’s book is the investigations into the activities of Ozawa Ichiro of the Democratic Party of Japan.
The interview is a discussion of the possibility that the prosecutions of Mr. Ozawa might continue, but what I found interesting was a parenthetical comment from Mr. Murakushi. Here it is in English:
The South Korean mass media speaks with the highest praise about the recent investigations of Ozawa Ichiro, saying, “This is how investigations should be conducted.” Authorities in that country have cracked down on lame duck administrations, but they are referred to as “political prosecutions”, and their fairness is questioned. They are now in the process of reforming their system to achieve investigations of the strictest impartiality. They’re using Japanese prosecutions as a model, which probe into the suspicious activities of senior party officials currently in office.
Few people in Japan think Mr. Ozawa is as clean as he claims; more than 80% of the respondents in a recent poll said his resignation as DPJ secretary-general was “a good thing”. That’s an even higher ratio than the 70% + who were glad to see him go as DPJ president last year. Kan Naoto realized he could boost the fortunes of his new government and the party by isolating him (though the good vibes generated from that have dissipated.) How much more has to happen before he realizes that the public is really tired of having him around?
There is reason to suspect, however, that the prosecutions were motivated in part by the national bureaucracy’s desire to protect itself. (It’s difficult to determine just how sincere Mr. Ozawa is about any policy question apart from closer ties with China, but he does seem to be on the side of those who want to wrest political control from the bureaucracy.) Some thought the Liberal Democratic Party was behind the investigations, but from what I’ve read, it’s more likely that they were kept abreast of the proceedings rather than having been the ones to spur the prosecutors into action.
Legitimate complaints notwithstanding, the prosecutors have every reason to figuratively hold the man upside down by his ankles and shake him to see what falls out. When people go public in reputable national magazines to describe how they helped hide evidence that incriminates him, he needs to be shook until his back ain’t got no bone, as the old song has it.
As the Koreans have learned from experience, soon is better than late when it comes to rousting a crooked pol.