Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pundits & Journalists Sidle up to Despotic Ozawa Regime

Lately, I've been hearing newspaper reporters, freelance journalists and political pundits who used to support the Liberal Democratic Party heap admiration on Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa. I knew that ever since the August 30 general elections, journalists and academics began an about-face in their political allegiances. but it's troubling how so many journalists sidle up to whomever has political power.

These reporters and writers need to be leaders. Or at least they need to try. At the bare minimum, they need to be independent from those in power. They need to be skeptical. But it's worrisome to see just how many of them are quick to flatter those in power.

Lately I've had two illuminating experiences.

The first was on August 30, 2009, when journalists who had supported the LDP and repeatedly criticized the DPJ turned on a dime and began writing, "Ichiro Ozawa is a political genius. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's leadership is wonderful." The way this message rang out so loudly and clearly was surprising.

The other was when I heard a certain well-known TV journalist say, "Anyone who criticizes the DPJ system under Ozawa and Hatoyama is really saying they wish the LDP would return." I heard something similar to this on another occasion, when a journalist who works like a member of the DPJ's advertising team said it on TV. Using this logic, the journalist sought to insulate the Ozawa regime.

Of course, this is nonsense. The LDP has less than one quarter of the seats in the lower house. There's no way for the LDP to return to power. Those of us telling the LDP to get a grip were simply saying that we wanted to see it show some backbone as Ichiro Ozawa, like a Heike fugitive hunter, seeks to thoroughly crush the party. That's all there is to it.

There is only a small group of people who are criticizing the DPJ, but probably none of them expect the LDP to rebound.

Those of us criticizing the rule of Ozawa and Hatoyama are asking for the DPJ to go through an internal transformation. We are looking for a revolution from within, where party members criticize the despotic politics of Ozawa and the irresponsible governing of Hatoyama. The most important issue in Japan's political world right now is the self-reform of the DPJ so that it breaks away from the current despotic system and returns to a true democratic path.