Rankings first to worst
Posted by ampontan on Monday, January 9, 2012
THE results of two recent public opinion polls tell us more about the Japanese perceptions of their political leaders than anything you’ll read in the English-language media.
The first is from Nikoniko News, which sponsored an online poll for two weeks in October asking people to rank their selections for the best prime ministers since Mori Yoshiro in 2000. They broke down the responses by sex, which reveals some eyebrow-raising differences. The caveats: It was an Internet questionnaire survey and it had a small sample size, as the baseball statheads like to say.
* Name your favorite prime ministers since 2000. Multiple answers are accepted.
1. Koizumi Jun’ichiro: 55.3%
2. There weren’t any good prime ministers: 24.9%
3. Aso Taro: 15.7%
4. Abe Shinzo: 5.4%
5. Fukuda Yasuo: 2.2%
They liked Mr. Koizumi when he took over, they liked him throughout his term, and they’d vote for him tomorrow. Funny how some people like to pretend he never existed.
The respondents who chose him said they liked his guts, charisma, ability to act, and leadership.
Those men who didn’t like anybody typically said that Diet members act only to look after themselves.
The totals for Mr. Aso are higher than one might expect. His supporters liked him because he “worked for Japan”.
One respondent said about Mr. Abe: I can’t see any problems with him. He was just crushed by the media.
The guys don’t seem to care much for the three Democratic Party prime ministers, do they?
1. Koizumi: 51.8%
2. Nobody: 36.4%
3. Aso: 6.0%
4. Noda Yoshihiko: 2.9%
5. Kan Naoto: 2.5%
That Kan Naoto slipped in, albeit with just 2.5%, is surprising, if only because most media reports said he was particularly unpopular among women. Their comments:
Koizumi: Leadership / Brought the abductees back home / Stayed true to his beliefs despite what others said or thought
None: They’re all half-baked / It’s hard to tell with the media criticism / If Japan had a good prime minister, we wouldn’t have all this debt. (Can’t fault that one)
Aso: Sound foreign policy / Did a good job despite media bashing
Noda: Sincere / Tranquil
Kan: Didn’t run away from the Tohoku disaster / Didn’t give up in the face of criticism
Worthy of note: Most of the commentariat criticized Mr. Kan for running away from taking responsibility for any of the serious issues. (One of his nicknames was Nige-Kan; nige(ru) means to flee or run away.) Yet the women who liked him thought he was a stout-hearted man.
Meanwhile, the Sankei Shimbun announced on 1 January the results of a poll on leadership conducted in cooperation with Macromill, an online market research company. Here are the questions:
* Regardless of the time period in which they were active, name one person you would not want to have as a leader, and your reasons.
1. Hatoyama Yukio
2. Kan Naoto
3. Ozawa Ichiro
It’s a hat trick for the DPJ!
4. Watanabe Tsuneo, chairman of the company that publishes the Yomiuri Shimbun. Guess which newspaper is unlikely to run these results.
5. Noda Yoshihiko
* Of Japan’s 33 postwar prime ministers, select the person you thought was the worst leader.
3. Uno Sosuke (Prime minister for three months in 1989, was in charge when the first consumption tax was instituted, was outed by a mistress (expensive nightclub hostess mistakenly identified as a geisha) who said he treated her rough and didn’t give her enough money.
Hatoyama: Wishy-washy / Ignorant waffler / How could anyone get any work done under a leader like that? / Changed his mind day to day (literally: Spoke, slept, woke up, said something different) / Spaceman / Never could understand what he was talking about / Weird / Casual liar
Kan: An unexpectedly ridiculous politician / Dreck / Thought only of himself / Untrustworthy / Never seen such an idiot / First time I’ve ever seen anyone so half-assed (ii kagen na yatsu) / Unaware of his own (lack of) ability / Slapdash from first to last
Ozawa: Out only for himself / Dishonest / Unmanly (N.B.: That never occurred to me before, but they have a point.) / Dirty / Sloughs his crimes off on his underlings / Shady
Apart from Kan Naoto’s name popping up in the Niconico women’s poll and the relatively good showing of Aso Taro, little of this is surprising, and most of the attributes of the prime ministers were already apparent before they took office.
Maybe people just enjoy fooling themselves.
All they brought was love in their khaki suits and things, but it was enough to win the top ranking in the UK.