Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Proposal for Premier Hatoyama: Value the Provinces

Where are Japan's politics heading?

First, we need to revive the spirit of cooperation and harmony among the Japanese people. We made a mistake when we followed the path of "structural reform," which was really market fundamentalism as espoused by the Republicans in the U.S. Japan's economy deteriorated, the livelihood of its people declined and its society was riven with gaps between the haves and the have-nots. This happened because of excessive globalism (and the disregard of domestic-demand-driven industries), a capital-centric system (with little investment in objects and industry) and a Tokyo-centric economy that all but forgot the provinces. The decline of the provinces has been especially egregious. This is what destroyed the Liberal Democratic Party, and now it is the Hatoyama Cabinet's responsibility to right this wrong.

Second, we should revive the idea of holding a lot of public meetings to forge a consensus on national issues. The reason the LDP lost the support of the people is because it grew arrogant and suffered from delusions of grandeur as it made arbitrary decisions for the nation. The Hatoyama administration will have to correct this mistake. One thing it can do is listen closely to the opinions of the people in the provinces.

Third, we need to re-establish a harmonious morality. Engaging in confrontation and contentiousness in the name of "reform" will bring a hundred problems before it brings one advantage. The giant media outlets are fueling the talk of reform. They are bringing the fight to organizations they don't like, painting those who challenge the media as being hostile to "reform." The media's target is the "public," especially anything to do with government offices and public works.

The media are turning into a kind of lethal weapon. The new Hatoyama administration has to rise above the mudslinging.

The Hatoyama Cabinet must undo the folly and mistakes made since the Koizumi administration. The LDP's ruin came about because it ignored the provinces. If the new administration is going to right this wrong, the people need to hold Hatoyama's feet to the fire.

My frank message to Mr. Hatoyama: Put emphasis on the provinces. You can do this by promoting regional farming and industry. The pillar of the local economies is construction. Treat the construction industry well!

Revival of the provinces will require spending that strengthens society: Promote environmental maintenance, disaster prevention and restoration, tourism and local industries.

This is my message to the premier.

The Democratic Party of Japan should not get caught up in being true to every letter of the manifesto it delivered to the people in the recent election. The party should have the courage to shelve the things that don't help the people.

The party should annul its proposal to greatly reduce public-works spending. It's the work of the neoliberal wing of the DPJ, and its enactment would mean further deterioration in the provinces. This sort of foolish policy should be withdrawn as quickly as possible. I repeat: Please put more value on the provinces.