Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Japan Left Behind by Its Leaders

The Lehman shock of September 15 and the ensuing world financial crisis that began in the US has had a crushing impact on the old way of doing business. It has unleashed an economic crisis that is global in scope. Nations around the world are entering recessions at the same time. A great depression approaches.

The threat of war also looms. India and Pakistan are a hair-trigger away from a crisis. If a war were to break out, it would involve nuclear powers. This is a crucial situation. We need to end the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan as soon as possible.

The US government bears much of the responsibility here. President-elect Obama has said that he wants to continue and even intensify the war effort in Afghanistan, but this is a big mistake. When he assumes power, he should immediately call for a cease fire. Now is the time to conceive of large, significant changes. We need to change from an American-centric, neoconservative, market fundamentalist way of thinking and concentrate on avoiding a great depression by switching to a form of modified capitalism. This is the Keynesian New Deal approach.

There is one more thing Japan must learn. It must stop its Americanization process and switch to a system based on Japanese values. Japan needs to shake off its addiction to Republican-style thinking on war, survival of the fittest social policies and neoconservative thought. In this era of historic change, we must unflinchingly realize that the long list of abuses Japan has suffered comes from not only the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito but also from members of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan who have sided with former Prime Minister Koizumi and his policies.

We should be bringing about a government that stands for peace, independence and harmony. Prime Minister Aso's government is headed in the opposite direction. So is the DPJ. The citizens of Japan need to forge a third way.