Japan from the inside out

Ichigen koji (56)

Posted by ampontan on Friday, September 9, 2011

– A person who has something to say about everything

The destruction in the Tohoku area of Japan, in which a nuclear accident that wasn’t supposed to happen was added to an “unanticipated” large earthquake and tsunami, revealed the exceptional spirit of the Japanese people for self-reliance and mutual cooperation. At the same time, it revealed to the entire world the slovenliness and lack of resourcefulness of the government of this country.

Though hit by a triple disaster, the people are taking their first, steady steps into the future. Meanwhile, the politicians, who should be the ones to take the lead in expressing a vision and a course for the future, are spending their days in idle power struggles while letting the people of the stricken area suffer without help. They are doing nothing at all to fulfill their responsibility. That revolting and heartless approach is nothing less than the Fourth Disaster, and the people’s sense of obstruction and distrust of politics has risen to unprecedented levels.

It is a fact that the politicians are hopeless. One can imagine that anger is the only response of most Japanese to this impotence and irresponsibility.

Behind this, however, are shameless people who have abdicated their responsibility in the same way as the politicians. Moreover, there are people who never tire of devoting all their energy to upholding their interests.

That’s right — They are the bureaucrats who dwell in Kasumigaseki.

– Koga Shigeaki, Kanryo no Sekinin (The Responsibility of the Bureaucracy)

Mr. Koga is a reform-minded official in the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry. He was subjected to a veiled threat by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Sengoku Yoshito during his testimony in the Diet in favor of civil service reform. His superiors in the ministry are trying to force him to resign.

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2 Responses to “Ichigen koji (56)”

  1. Marellus said


    “Trying to force him to resign” ??? Isn’t this METI taking pot shots at the Finance Ministry, and making apologies when there’s complaints being made ? You yourself said that the Finance Ministry is currently no1. But I bet that before 1989 the crown belonged to METI. Sour grapes methinks. Am I right?
    I don’t follow. He’s in METI, which has problems of its own, not the MOF. Reform of the bureaucracy is reform of all the bureaucracy.

    – A.

  2. toadold said

    “I did what was right because it was right and left it alone.”

    Bureaucracies punish the brave and reward the guilty, they have no moral code other than obedience to bureaucracy. They fired Chiune Sugihara after the war was over.
    My brother attended a course for non-commissioned officers a few decades back, and he said he was surprised at the number of students who couldn’t grasp the concept of “illegal orders.” Order that were given by superior officers that if you obeyed them would end up with you in prison. An example problem was if the general order was do not shoot prisoners if they are not resisting or violent, then what you do if a superior ordered you to shoot prisoners because he deemed it harmful to the mission to use manpower to guard them. About a third of the class said shoot the prisoners.

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